No-Till Gardening
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No-Till Gardening

This is a discussion on No-Till Gardening within the Food, Health and Fitness Survival forums, part of the Survivalist, Prepper, Bushcrafter, Forest Rangers category; I see where some folks always till their garden. I'm of the school of thought that once a garden is established, you never till again. ...

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  1. #1
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    No-Till Gardening

    I see where some folks always till their garden. I'm of the school of thought that once a garden is established, you never till again. Proper garden soil is a complex, living organism made up of organisms and micro-organisms living in a complex, symbiotic relationship. Proper garden soil is not a solid hunk of dirt. It is full of tunnels and passages created by worms, insects and past root systems. These tunnels are necessary for the proper aeration of the soil. Tilling just destroys this whole environment.

    When a garden plant is done for the year, I never pull it up. I take my trusty Hori-Hori garden knife, and cut it off at ground level. For larger plants, such as corn, I use a machete. I want all those underground roots to stay in place and then decompose over the winter. Once they decompose, they leave a myriad of tunnels all thru the soil plus the decomposition leaves behind some nutrients in there as well. Next year's plants roots will take the path of least resistance, and follow the old root system... getting plenty of air and nutrition.

    In a way, my garden soil is my partner in the raising of fresh food. It is not something to be beaten into submission but something to develop, feed and let mature... kinda like a kid.

  2. #2
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    Since we only do raised bed gardening, I simply take a shovel or a pitchfork and turn the soil a couple of times, usually after we harvest everything in the early fall and later when whatever cover crop starts to die out in Feb or early March before we plant again.

    We don't walk on the raised beds, we don't compact them, we do add some hay, straw, manure and or compost to them periodically as well as a bag or two of Miracle Gro garden soil around planting time if we plant seedlings. But I agree with @Redneck and treat the soil well...

    But as far as some young folks, beating them into submission is not a bad idea!

  3. #3
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    @Slippy , what cover crop you use? I like to use Austrian winter peas. Here in north Mississippi, they stay green all winter and really take off in early spring. They make a great winter ground cover (green manure) and add a considerable amount of nitrogen into the soil. Their leaves taste incredible... like a fresh pea.

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  5. #4
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    I always use Crimson Clover and Rye. I have been considering both the Austrian Winter Pea and Hairy Vetch.
    Romans 10:9 KJV
    That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

  6. #5
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    No till works for AG crops like corn ,bean ect for a few reasons . Fertilizer management high tech now. Weed control and just they types of a crop. Even then it must be done right of it fails. The plow is almost gone here has been for some time . There has not been a plow used on this farm in over 35 years. Garden still needs so work even if it just turning with a shovel or loosening it up with a hoe.
    No till planting on large scale still loosens the soil around the seed by the way planter works. And some years the ground may need to have surface broken or the crops suffer .
    There is a winter type radish some years they use for cover here . It grows down to some crazy low temps and put a good amount of nitrogen back in the soil .
    reason they moved to no till was to conserve soil, reduce field time and cost. In some case now filed is done in one pass Fertilizer, weed controls and seed. We have come a long way.
    New life as a house husband, major shift in duties.

    Karl Marx said, "Destroy their culture, rewrite their history. Ruin their art and literature, and defame their heroes, by offering fabrications to scandalize that which they considered good.
    After reading this Obama said I am on it.

  7. #6
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    No till is the permaculture way. I'm just learning more about that with Ruth Stout & Geoff Lawton, using lots of mulch and will be doing the 'chop & drop' at the end of the season. For many years I did pull up the corn stalks and other plants, but also cut them into 4-6 inch pieces to break down faster/easier than left whole, and left in place over the winter and used to till under in the spring. I no longer have a tiller and no future plans of shoveling under either. Earlier this year, I did use the shovel to create berm/swales (Geoff Lawton) that shouldn't need any future digging.

    Berms are soft sided natural raised beds....or rows of mounded soil created from the swales that are like ditches between the mounds that trap water & nutrients from runoff and is kept near the root line when the berm is planted. You don't walk on the berms or raised soil that is planted, but only in the swales to tend the plantings. And the mulch is created naturally over time by continually adding materials such as straw, spent plants after the growing season and even kitchen scraps. It also includes the ideas of composting in place and 'back to eden' and layering/lasagna gardening techniques.

    Once the berms & swales (raised soil & lower walk paths) are established......it's pretty much the lazy way of gardening. Just keep adding materials that break down/compost over time that adds nutrients & structure to the soil....based on nature's way of soil improvement. The only disruptions or tilling will be the chickens scratching & working it during the winter off season, or my planting during the growing season. That's it and it makes alot more sense and only adds to the idea of working smarter, not harder.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck View Post
    @Slippy , what cover crop you use? I like to use Austrian winter peas. Here in north Mississippi, they stay green all winter and really take off in early spring. They make a great winter ground cover (green manure) and add a considerable amount of nitrogen into the soil. Their leaves taste incredible... like a fresh pea.
    Clover, Wheat/Rye Grass and my favorites; PANSY'S! Because who doesn't like pretty colored flowers in January!

  9. #8
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    I'm just getting setup with my first stab at gardening. Growing in Summer is a b***h here so I'm trying a few H&H resistant plants that come recommended for rookies; eggplant, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, sweet peppers. I have one 4x8 raised bed ready to go and if all goes well I hope to "cage" in a 20x20 area and add a couple larger (concrete block) beds come Fall. This no-till method makes sense and I've seen the Hori tool. I have a scuffle hoe being delivered later this week. Anyone have thoughts on those? Having watched some youtube videos on them - they seem to work similarly and show promise in other areas as well.

  10. #9
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    IMO this is the best hoe available.

    https://www.prepperforums.net/forum/...door-step.html

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck View Post
    YES!!! I have two hoes from Rogue and two more arriving this week. One in particular, their firebreak tool is hand's down my favorite tool for clearing ... anything. That beast chops through small trees, old stumps, thick roots, weed clumps - you name it - with ease!

 

 
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