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Old 09-22-08, 04:30 PM   #1
Daox
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Default Tilling?

So, I've been reading up on tilling for gardens etc. Some say its good, some say its bad to turn up all the micro-orgnaisms in the soil. What do you say? I guess I can see both sides of the story, but I don't have any real experience with it.

I say this because we took some of the weekend and pulled most of the weeds out of our garden. I'm currently planning on tilling up what is there to break up the soil and till in the weed roots that are already there. Then, come next year I'll just use the hoe to plant what we want. Ideas?

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Old 09-22-08, 04:38 PM   #2
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well, i never knew anyone thought it was bad. my grandmother throws a few piles from the compost heap into the garden area, adds some ashes from burned brush/limbs, and tills it into the soil. its been working for her every year for 65+ years (of course, quite a few of those years were done with REAL horse power)
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Old 09-23-08, 07:22 PM   #3
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To Till:
You have to make sure the soil is ready to be tilled, or you may be causing more harm than good. It has to be warm enough, and dry enough to till. Typically spring is the best time of the year to till your garden, and you want the SOIL temerature to be 60* or above. When you grab a handful of dirt, if it clumps together it's too moist, when it crumbles in your hand, that's the right time to till. Although if you're planning on planting cold-growing plants like lettuce, peas, or cabbage next year, it's better to till your garden in the fall, as the soil won't be warm enough to till before the plants are ready to go in the ground.

If you're planning on putting any Lime, Manure, or organic compost to the soil, add that as you're tilling to get it mixed in well with the soil. If you're planning on adding chemical fertilizers, wait until just before planting, so it doesn't just leach out of the area. Work the additives into the soil, and use your tiller to break up to top 6-8" of soil for good root growth. DON'T go over an area too much with the tiller, or it will actually compact the soil instead of just loosening it up.

Not To Till:

The "No-Till" method basically has mother nature doing the job of keeping the soil aerated, fertilized, control weeds, drain well but retain moisture, and otherwise take care of the soil. To go with the "No-Till" method, there's a bit of work involved in getting the ground and the plants set up just right to work with this method. I found this website that goes into a little more detail about the "No-Till" method:
http://www.eartheasy.com/article_no-till_gardening.htm

Both methods seem like they would work resonably well. As long as you don't over-till the soil the Tilling method would be fine, and as long as you prep the ground properly beforehand, the "No-Till" method would work well. It's mostly up to you with how you feel about the garden. Would you rather spend a little time every year tilling your garden? Or would you rather put in more effort up front, but not have the yearly till? It's up to you

Last edited by Tree Hugger; 09-23-08 at 07:26 PM..
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Old 09-24-08, 05:58 AM   #4
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I love the idea of having an army of earthworms doing the job for you

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Old 10-02-08, 04:09 PM   #5
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Awesome post Tree Hugger. Thank you very much for this.

Can you use any type of mulch for the top layer? Like grass clippings?
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Old 10-03-08, 12:46 PM   #6
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great link Treehugger.
Higgy-it says on the site that you can use grass clippings as a mulch. The "no-till" method would be great for your garden.

Daox-if you have a raised garden like Higgy then I would go with the no till method. If it's a regular garden that you can just run a tiller through then I would go that route.
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Old 10-03-08, 12:48 PM   #7
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anyone else having problems pulling up the "rain water collection" thread?
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Old 10-03-08, 12:53 PM   #8
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Nope, I just got onto it.

And thanks for the reply.
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Old 10-03-08, 01:29 PM   #9
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you're welcome!

The rain water collection thread is the only one I can't access....hmmm.
Here's what it tells me when I try:
Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 1966080 bytes) in /home/ecorenovator/public_html/forum/showthread.php(2153) : eval()'d code on line 426

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