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Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017

To till or not to till

Posted Sunday, December 30, 2007, at 10:28 AM

I am not sure Shakespeare asked himself that question but to me it makes sense. I have to balance between it being too wet or to cold to start the tractor or for the operator (me) to sit on the tractor.

If I till on New Year's day it will be less wet and the following freeze might kill some of my bad guys overwintering in the soil.

Then again, Joel Osteen is coming on and I just brewed some coffee, so I guess it can wait. If I don't till, I could at least get some firewood in and maybe even cut a few dead trees. Yeesh, this neck surgery must have worked some!

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I like the style of gardening that nice little old lady devised.

No tilling-just throw some seeds in a pile of dirt,bury them and stand back.

That strategy seems to be working for the top of my desk.

I'm positive things are growing in my outbox with no seeds having been applied.

I know I have to toss out more than I ever brought in.

Should that strategy work as well with heirloom plants outdoors,I may have some success with my yard this year.

(Then again,my rock garden turned yellow and died.)

I wish you good luck with your garden,Steve-but not tooo much.

I wouldn't want your fruits and vegetables to grow so large and luscious that you tear a ligament bringing them in.

Enjoy your holidays!

-- Posted by quantumcat on Sun, Dec 30, 2007, at 1:09 PM

I keep saying I am going to use her method (Ruth Stout) but I never seem to find enough straw or spoiled hay to keep it up. In our heat the stuff seems to compost down overnight (well, it seems that way). Here is a nice article on her method http://www.dacres.org/No-Till%20Garden.h...

One garden has GREAT clay deposits and the other one is a porous mix of loam and rocks. One dries out fast, the other can hold water but compacts so well that every few years I have to till.

I have been tempted to rent a backhoe to dig them both out and mix the soil, then refill the beds, but at $100+ a day, I seem to get dissuaded.

Maybe if I sell more on eBay? But I have many other things I could spend that money on so.....

-- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Dec 30, 2007, at 1:42 PM

Well, the day is over and I accomplished very little. Nothing new but I was trying! The tractor was the deciding factor regarding tilling. The battery was dead so no need to check the soil wetness.

BUT, I have reduced my tilling in half already! Two beds will get roughed up a little but not tilled. Why?

The soil is loose already and I have some garlic, strawberries, asparagus, and onions overwintering, so I won't disturb them.

Two other beds are for wild flowers so I will let them reseed themselves. Maybe some spading to loosen the soil but no tilling. By the way, the beds are right next to my veggies to attract beneficial insects.

Got the wood in, but did not cut any new. The football games caught me during one of my breaks and the rest is history.

If anyone has any spoiled hay they want to get rid of, let me know. I can use a bunch.

-- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Dec 30, 2007, at 6:09 PM

I'd think we had enough horse barns,construction sites and public areas to supply all the mulch the owners or the rest of us could require.

(What DO folks do with all the mowed weeds and stall dressing?)

Even if soldier flies are conscripted to reduce waste on show grounds,at poultry plants,etc. there must be plenty of soil enrichers left.

Are they all going to landfills or biodiesel?

Maybe we could talk to some of the vacant lot owners about a bit of barter.

They provide people with fallen limbs and leaves,grass clippings,any vintage or native plants,etc. and they,in return,get a neatly groomed plot with a mini-prairie or groundcovers.

(It's not like they've called our excellent local landscape companies for anything.)

Congratulations on your work reduction (and thanks for the Ruth Stout information).

I hope your team and your garden make the playoffs.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Sun, Dec 30, 2007, at 8:46 PM

You never mentioned what you would like to grow besides maters. Cukes, herbs, ???

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Dec 31, 2007, at 6:14 AM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.