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BIG garden soil preparation

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Dean Olson
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:28 pm    Post subject: BIG garden soil preparation Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I have about 10,000 sq feet of garden. I have a Farmall Super C and a 200. My soil prep is to mold board plow,disc,drag,then plant and cultivate a couple times with the 200. At the end of the season I shred what's left and let is rot down then plow again for the winter. Being in TX I have a weed problem year around so will disc it a couple times in the off season to keep the weeds down. I don't use any chemicals. It's not 100% organic being I use granular fertilizer in my planter and side dresser. Always worked good for me as I enjoy the activity.

Then I met a neighbor over a couple miles and he uses a 6' tiller on a 55 hp JD 4wd. He sprays for weeds and broad casts fertilizer.
I suspect that this is probably a 40k rig, any way, he likes what he's doing.

I suspect the real farmers going no till is to minimize the trips over the field to cut costs. I also see a fair amount of spraying going on.

BUT what does it do for/to the soil.

Please express an opinion on whats the best way to prepare the soil for a garden.
 
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OH Boy
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 3:45 pm    Post subject: Re: BIG garden soil preparation Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I do it the way you do cause thats the equipment I have to work with.
 
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mazemeister
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:26 pm    Post subject: Re: BIG garden soil preparation Reply to specific post Reply with quote

good to question these things, lots of people have a "i've made up my mind, don't confuse me with the facts" attitude about chemicals and tillage. the bottom line is, the soil is such a complex ecosystem and so variable, that the answer is probably different in each zip code, maybe each farm. if it's even possible to draw a definite conclusion.

i (try to) make a living farming, so i make decisions partly on what equipment we have available, what experience has shown to work, and what my education would suggest.

and i end up doing very different things for different crops. and if i farmed a lot more land, i'd do lots of things very differently.

for example, we no-till transplant about 3 acres of pumpkins into killed rye. so from fall of the previous year till spring of the following, zero tillage; the soil is covered. that "should" be a good thing. when i disk in the straw the next spring, the ground is very soft and works up very nicely. but it only works with herbicides.

and transplanting is slooowww.... so it wouldn't work at all for 50 or 100 acres.

so... it depends.
 
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randallinMo
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:00 am    Post subject: Re: BIG garden soil preparation Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Your comment, "ALways worked good for me as I enjoy the activity".....pretty much tells it all.
You might consider planting a "cover crop" (rye, wheat, oats, etc.) in the fall which would help with your weed problem in the winter as well as add/build organic matter to your soil. Just disc it up in the spring with your present equipment and you're good to go.
 
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rustacres sd
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:04 am    Post subject: Re: BIG garden soil preparation Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I have two seperate gardens. One is 3/8 of an acre and the other is 1/2 acre. I use a 135 MF with a 6' tiller. Ocassionaly (every other year or two) i will take the chisle plow through it to break it up farther down. Need to check with some neighbors to get some manure to work in. would like to work in some oats or wheat straw to help build up the soil. Have only recently started the big gardening. Using grandular fertilizer now and very little to no spraying for bugs.
 
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Eldo case
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:02 am    Post subject: Re: BIG garden soil preparation Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I agree on the cover crop! Also any compost or rotted manure added will help the soil.
 
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jackinok
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:50 am    Post subject: Re: BIG garden soil preparation Reply to specific post Reply with quote

do not spray a garden anymore than you have to for insects,many of your crops depend on pollinators. If you do spray do it late of an evening after bees have headed home. for weeds I personally think cultivating is best in a garden,main reason is theres less chance of killing your good plants. it also helps some to conserve moisture.
 
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Dean Olson
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:45 pm    Post subject: Re: BIG garden soil preparation Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I don't spray anything. I over plant in a big way and rotate so the bugs, critters, and I all have enough.
 
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larry@stinescorners
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:20 pm    Post subject: Re: BIG garden soil preparation Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Ijust plowed and harrowed where we had a pumpkin patch,then broadcasted rye seed by hand,then lightly harrowed over it . The rye was up in 1 week. I think the cover crop helps my plot
 
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Bret4207
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:37 pm    Post subject: Re: BIG garden soil preparation Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Well, if I understand what you're asking correctly, you want to know what others with similar sized gardens do, right? You got about a 100' by 100' foot space if it's 10K sq ft. I've used a Gravely rotary plow on that size for years. I've also used a tiller and a horse. The Gravely does the best job overall, but they aren't easy to find and there's no sitting down. The horse did the next best job but that was light, sandy ground and all it took was a few passes with a spring tooth. The tiller does a good job but it's slow as death and doesn't go deep at all. Even my big commercial tiller only goes down about 4-5".

My Amish neighbors do acres of gardens with a plow and harrow and cultivators.

I guess I'm not too clear on what you're asking after all.
 


Last edited by Bret4207 on Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Frankmn
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:38 pm    Post subject: Re: BIG garden soil preparation Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I rent 10 acres to some gardeners and I do the tillage. I moldboard plow it in the fall to bury the last summers residue and in the spring I disk it. I then let them use the tractor to re disc or spike tooth drag it as they need to while they plant it. I built them a 2 row cultivator but they haven't mastered that so they still use small tillers for weed control. This is all accomplished with a 48 8N and that is enough seat time by the time it is done.
 
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Dean Olson
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:56 pm    Post subject: Re: BIG garden soil preparation Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I was just curious. I've been cruising the archives and reading different
opinions on on soil prep.

As an example some feel discing and rotary tilling compacts the soil. Doesn't
make sense to me as I use those tools to loosen up the soil to plant in and
give new roots and easy path to grow in.

Newest technology seems to be no till. Which if I'm understanding that
correctly incorporates a chisel plow and disc and planter all in one pass.

I'm reading about soil structure, compacting the soil with too many passes
over the ground that doesn't leave room for the worms to create paths for
water to go down. Getting a pan under what's been tilled and holding water.
Then having to run a subsoiler deep to break that up.

My soil is a sandy clay that when rained on forms a crust that new seed won't
hardly grow through. If is rains after I plant and before plants come up I
have to run a roller/crust buster over it.

If it rains after the plants are up I'm good to go as the crust retains moisture.
If it doesn't rain I lose all moisture quickly both up and down.

I don't think I have a problem.

Seems that mold boarding doesn't break up the soil as fine as rotary tilling. I
mold board to about 8". I think the disk only goes about 2-3" deep and I
plant at about 1-1/2".

Big tiller seems to grind up the top 5-6".

The question was/is what method is best for the soil?

I'm starting the form the opinion that it doesn't matter.
 
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Frankmn
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:27 am    Post subject: Re: BIG garden soil preparation Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Roto tilling does give you a nice pulverized soil but on a large area, it is not practical as it is a slow process. Also, you sometimes have to use the equipment you have or as my dad would say, you gotta dance with the girl you got.
 
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Bret4207
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:40 am    Post subject: Re: BIG garden soil preparation Reply to specific post Reply with quote

A disc does compact the soil to a greater or lesser extent. A tiller does too, more or less depending on design. Anytime you put a tractor on your ground you are compacting it. That's just the way it is. The more trips across it, the more it compacts. You can lessen it by making fewer trips and staying completely off it when the ground is damp or wet. Clay is wonderful crop ground, but it's relatively unforgiving of abuse.
 
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Dean Olson
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:54 am    Post subject: Re: BIG garden soil preparation Reply to specific post Reply with quote

This is where you lose me on soil compaction.

I use a disc and or tiller to loosen the soil so I can get the seed in
the ground and so seed has an easy time germinating through it.

I use a heavy roller to compact ant mounds in my pasture



At what point during the loosening process does it get
compacted??

ALL soil compacts with time and rain.

I don't claim to be Einstein or even close but I sure don't get it.
 
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