Purely newbie question

Upon just a little walking around while tilling, I can see that foot traffic packs down the soil. Is it good to have designated walkways, or pavers or stepping stones or the like to avoid packing soil or stepping on plants?
Steve
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"SteveB" wrote:

If you use a tiller correctly you wouldn't be walking on the freshly tilled portions... with your final passes stand off to the side, some tillers have an offset position... anyway by then the ground should be fluffy enough that you only need to guide it with one handle. It helps if after primary tilling to leave the ground rest in the sun like a day to further dry out before final tilling.

Nah, just stomp the crap out of your plants, and be sure not to miss any or the gardening gendarmes will arrest you... what do you think. I wouldn't use stepping stones, you'll only have to lug them out before the next tilling, and weeds will grow in the spaces creating much extra labor. I make pathways of corrogated cardboard, eventually it decomposes and what doesn't gets tilled in. If you can't collect sufficient cardboard over the winter then your local booze emporium will be very happy to accomodate. It gets windy here at times so I use split firewood and such to hold down the corrogated. And to keep weeds down directly around plants I use weed block cloth. You need to develop a system that works for you... if this is your first attempt expect a few years to pass before you get it figured out and accumulate the necessary supplies... expect to make stupid mistakes, everyone does.
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The perimeter, there's other ways around that. Inside and through such a tilled area, a slightly raised area for walking is good.
--
Dave



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wrote:

Walking on the ground or lawn compresses the soil. It all depends on how much is done before compaction is an issue. It is a good idea to have pathways to gain access for weeding, tilling, etc. Stay off the ground when soggy.
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SteveB wrote:

It is quite important that foot traffic (all traffic actually) is directed off your garden beds to avoid compaction. Compaction will collapse the structure of your soil and lead to much reduced productivity. Likewise frequent tilling damages structure and is not necessary.
What you make paths from and what size and shape they should be is the subject of a lengthy paper or a book. You need to find a solution that fits you and your garden situation that is affordable. There are many compromises to be made, one size does not fit all.
David
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On 5/24/2009 9:46 PM, SteveB wrote:

Not only does a designated path keep the rest of the soil from getting compacted, but it also keeps shoes and feet clean.
If your climate does not involve the soil freezing, you can use decomposed granite, stepping stones, brick, salvaged broken concrete, wood or bark chips, or pea gravel. Put ground cloth down first and then whatever you choose for a surface layer. This will prevent weeds from getting establish (but won't prevent them from starting). You can omit the ground cloth for stepping stones if you wish your plants to grow between the stones.
For masonry -- brick or broken concrete -- you should put a layer of sand and pea gravel on top of the ground cloth and set the masonry into that layer; the sand and gravel will hold the masonry in place. You can even plant a shallow-rooted, small ground cover into the sand and gravel between the pieces of masonry. Try creeping thyme, Scotch moss, or similar plants.
If your soil freezes in the winter, check with a local landscape contractor for recommendations.
You don't need a path through a grass lawn if there is no traffic along a constant route. If there is a well-traveled route, even a lawn needs a path.
At a public garden where I'm a docent, there is a large lawn that is open most of the year for visitors to walk, sit, and even picnic. All other grass is off limits. The large lawn is closed for 6-8 weeks starting in January or February for renovation. It's aerated, reseeded, and top-dressed with compost. This year, one particular area -- a frequent route onto the lawn -- had to be renewed with fresh sod; it was worn and compacted beyond what the usual renovation could fix.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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wrote:

Yes, walkways are preferred. Raised beds are even more preferred, with walkways.
Despite what the others may say, tilling your garden is damaging the soil structure and the worms, who are your friends. Read up on all the methods of no-till gardening, ie: google no-till gardens.
Charlie
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