the article only mention tilling if you need to either change the purpose of the area, say from veggie bed to a mulched passage way; not because it can be tilled yearly for reasons explained in article I gave the link to in my original post on this thread. :) Based on my understanding of the article, it decomposes, so no need to till if replanting in the same area, only add compost at the top. Lasagna gardening comes to mind now.
Re: the newspaper idea for natural weed control....this is what I use. I put down a couple of layers and wet it to keep in place and then pile pinestraw on top of that. It works great in keeping the weeds down around my tomatoes AND I can till it in in the spring.
I have raised beds for my veggies. Each fall I apply bone meal and blood meal and top it off with a couple of inches of shredded leaves. In the spring, I add compost and then use an electric cultivater to turn all this into the existing soil. A light cultivation or tilling will not destroy the soil structure. The damage comes from heavy and or repeated tilling.
If any of you get the magazine Natural Home and Garden, the May/June 2012 issue has an article entitled "Weed-Free Naturally". In there the author, Lee Reich, mention that we can use at least 4 layers of newspaper (overlap so they don't grow in between) to inhibit weeds and kill whatever is preexisting instead of using the plastic. The paper, no colored ink because of the metal used, will decompose and if later you wish to change things, you won't have to deal with the chunks of plastic which are now "part" of the landscape. I wish I would have had this idea before I added new beds. This technique can also be applied for mulching the space between beds.
Check your library for the mag if you don't get it :)
Fitness Minutes: (66,302) Posts: 1,026 4/15/12 10:38 A
It is true about what the suggested article stated that turing the soil is disruptive and that is why the old time farmers would let sections of their farm ground rest for a few years before putting them into service again. Gardeners don't have the space to do such practices so we must be smart and progressive to make the most of our gardens and to protect them.
I have done this, but only when my dirt is pretty good underneath, too, because it does not stay in that hump if you have much weather, unless you put something over it to hold it like black plastic.I only did this because I did not have the lumber to make the beds and I wanted the drainage because I had a bit more clay in that soil than I wanted. I personally don't like tilling. Every Spring that bed may need to be piled back up and reshaped, if not more often.
Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day. ~ Robert C. Lintner But a thankful heart hath a continual feast. ~ W. J. Cameron
""Things can be gotten used to. I lost 176lbs moving mindsets of what I think tastes nice." -REDSHOES2011
I will not wait to have a good day. I will make one.
I agree with what was said about raised beds. Mine are lined on the inside with roofing shingles (idea from a segment of Gardening By the Yard with Paul James) and it works great. My problem is the soil where I live is all clay and basalt rock so I had to build raised beds. The soil mixture is so light and fluffy I just use my U Bar digger to loosen the soil... no tilling or turning ever needed and weeds pull out like a breeze if they get through the mulch...easy, easy. Of course building the beds were a bit hard and a bit pricey but well worth it. By the way, they are 16' by 4' and 12" deep...
current weight: 209.0
Fitness Minutes: (540) Posts: 187 4/14/12 8:26 P
That was interesting----but did it say tilling is OK just when planting? That's the only time I till. We have a fairly young garden and have just started building in organics and stuff, but it has to be tilled to be able to plant the seeds. I've been around gardens almost all my life but am just now starting to be a serious gardener. So I'm listening to everything I can about it----thanks for the tip to chew on!!!!!!!!!!
I agree, the whole point of a raised bed is a good way to avoid existing soil and fill it with whatever one wants, thus no tilling needed to establish the bed the first time.
As for tilling repeatedly the same area, here is one of many hits I got on that subject, it is not recommended because it does more harm than good: www.plantea.com/no-tilling.htm Something to chew over.
Fitness Minutes: (0) Posts: 139 4/14/12 6:36 P
To me the whole idea of a raised bed is to fill it with something other than your existing soil, so it never needs to be tilled. You also use a good blend of ingredients so that it holds the proper amount of water.
For instance in Square Foot Gardening we use 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite and 1/3 blended compost (from 5+ sources). The first 2 ingredients hold water yet allow for good drainage and air space for roots to grow. The blended compost supplies all the nutrients your plants need so you don't need to use chemicals.
I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January.
Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
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Fitness Minutes: (540) Posts: 187 4/14/12 6:20 P
My little gardener has made raised beds in our garden without the wooden frames. She said it works better if you want to till (it's very hard to till within the wooden frames, maybe?) and it also is better for the water flow. (the wooden frame holds water inside/outside the bed) She and her helper were so busy this morning planting carrot, beet, radish, lettuce....all the early stuff. It looks so orderly and neat and no boards necessary!
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