John Brownlee wrote:I agree with Bryan 100%, go ahead with your plan and you'll be fine. My only addendum is if you have clayish soil be sure to use agricultural lime as opposed to dolomitic limestone as dolomite has a lot of magnesium which will make the clay "close up" and drain even worse.
Actually now that I think about it, if your soil is acidic use hardwood ashes as opposed to lime to correct pH. And keep in mind that ashes only have two thirds of the alkalinity of the limestone. So if you would need to apply 60 pounds of lime to adjust the pH you would actually need to apply 80 pounds of wood ashes to achieve the same effect. Wood ashes add a lot micronutrients to the soil, and are a lot more sustainable than limestone. Also you could check the pH of your rock dust, as that might have some alkalizing power in and of itself.
Bev Huth wrote:We did have to till to get a decent garden going here. (Blasted AR red clay!) had to till, add compost and cold manure form horses and rabbits, till again, plant cover crops, till those under, then plant the food the next year but, now we don't till, no reason for it, we have good food beds and turning in a little compost or cold manure in the fall is all we need to do, that we do by hand.
I agree, a tiller is like a gun, a powerful and useful tool when used properly but, use it wrong, or over use it and, it does more harm than good.
Alex Ames wrote:Tilling is fine. I don't do it because I don't want to.
Thirty years ago my Mother bought a fancy new tiller. Man what a job
that thing did! I lived about 3 hours away at the time but I would call to
compare gardening notes. So I asked her if the new tiller had helped and she
shot back "I hate it!". So I inquired further and she explained that the plants
got huge and super healthy but wouldn't stand upright in the pulverized soil!
bob day wrote:Elaine Ingham--www.soilfoodweb.com
there is a whole lot more going on with tilling than just losing nutrients --i don't want to say never till, but i haven't yet seen in this thread the mention of microrhizae (sp?)- those little fungal tubes that transport water and nutrients large distances and are totally destroyed by tilling, or the soil bacteria that actually make those nutrients available to the roots of the plants
To some extent we're all just whistling in the dark when it comes to understanding the magic that goes on underground and within the body of a plant. but tilling is known to shift the balance of microbes from fungal to bacterial-- and those bacteria go nuts consuming and using up nutrients,, i'm sure somebody out there can correct me, but if there is any fertility in the soil at all tilling will cause about 40% of it to go away. She does recommend use of compost tea,, but it has to be aerobic as does compost-- that means a bubbler providing oxygen while the tea is brewing.
If you want to get really serious get a soil sample to a soilfood web lab and they'll tell you how to balance things out to grow what you need to grow, and probably have better advice about tilling or not.
The more i learn the more i know i don't know, but right now Elaine seems to be at the cutting edge of understanding soil biology and what makes plants grow
before her i was looking at keyline plows and perrenial cover crops to build soil,, now she claims to be able to build soil applying the right microbes.
anyway, in the end i'm going to have fun with what i do,, I'm going to play with the dirt, study as much as i can, and try and make reasonable decisions about use of technology --including tilling--and i know i didn't recommend one way or the other, just wanted to throw in my two cents