Rototilling

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I prefer no-till "Lasagna" gardening, or "Sheet Mulching" as others call it. To my way of thinking it is the best way to garden, and it requires less exertion.
--
Gaia's Garden, Second Edition: A Guide To Home-Scale Permaculture
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I composted long before today's "experts" knew what it was and only a lazy person shies away from rototilling. So how do today's "expert" put in a lawn. Lay cardboard and newspaper across the empty space for a year then seed? Todays "experts" have an answer for everything, that is taking shortcuts to save the environment.
--
bullthistle

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There are those of a different opinion on rototilling. Why shouldn't their concerns be allowed to be expressed?
"A lawn in preindustrial times trumpeted to all that the owner possessed enough wealth to use some land for sheer ornament, instead of planting all of it to food crops.
And close-mowed grass proclaimed affluence, too: a herd of sheep large enough to crop the lawn uniformly short. These indicators of status whisper to us down the centuries. By consciously recognizing the influence of this history, we can free ourselves of it and let go of the reflexive impulse to roll sod over the entire landscape."
You are in favor of saving the environment, aren't you? How would you do it differently?
Please, continue.
If you like weekends (8 hr./day & 40 hr./week), then thank a labor union. They paid for it in blood. Real working class heros. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haymarket_affair>
Taxes Citizen$ ---> Government ---> Corporations ---> Top 1% <--Where the money went
Are you better off than you were 30 years ago? 10 years ago? 1 year ago?
Thank Reaganomics/Thatcherism, a.k.a. Voodoo economics :O(
--
- Billy

Dept. of Defense budget: $663.8 billion
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I till a new bed the first year and then turn it over the following years with a spading fork. A tiller chops up way too many earthworms which I like in my beds.
Rich
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Tilling is a good way in my book for first time ground prepping. After that no more tilling is needed ever. Be it for new lawn or garden.
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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"Double digging" is certainly to be recommended for a new garden, as it speeds up the development of the bed, but it isn't necessary otherwise. Rototillers create a hardpan, a layer of compacted soil, at the bottom of the tilled zone. This may be acceptable for lawns, but for gardens it is advised to break up this compacted zone. Insert a broad fork or digging fork deeply into the soil at 6” intervals to break up any compaction and to allow air and water below the depth of tillage. Breaking this up with a fork permits the roots of plants to grow deeper than the tilled area, and also allows plants to find water and nutrients deep in the soil. Loosening allows for better percolation of rain water and irrigation.
--


McGowan's Drinking Guide (Translated from the original German. It's
complicated, OK?)
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"Double digging" is certainly to be recommended for a new garden, as it speeds up the development of the bed, but it isn't necessary otherwise. Rototillers create a hardpan, a layer of compacted soil, at the bottom of the tilled zone. This may be acceptable for lawns, but for gardens it is advised to break up this compacted zone. Insert a broad fork or digging fork deeply into the soil at 6 inch intervals to break up any compaction and to allow air and water below the depth of tillage. Breaking this up with a fork permits the roots of plants to grow deeper than the tilled area, and also allows plants to find water and nutrients deep in the soil. Loosening allows for better percolation of rain water and irrigation.
--
If you like weekends (8 hr./day & 40 hr./week), then thank a labor union.
They paid for it in blood. Real working class heros.
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...leastwise that is what ya read in your eco-fringy blogs right?
and as for the worm mulch you so worry about , your chickens kill more earthworms than that tiller will.
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In article

As I understand it. Tilling or plowing at a constant depth will create a hardpan. Thats why God created a chisel plow. Some folks try not to create one in the first place that is cheap and eco-warrior friendly.
--
Bill S. Jersey USA zone 5 shade garden

"The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow." - Anon
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On Mon, 25 Apr 2011 14:52:46 -0400, Bill who putters

Your understanding is incorrect, it's not even logical. What you refer to as a "hardpan" is not created by tilling, the more compacted soil was *always* there, it's a matter of relativity; tilled vs untilled and the point where one ends and the other begins... there is no logical way that tilling will *create* "hardpan" below the tilled depth, only if the "hardpan" faeries dance a jig below ground while wearing vibratory boots. If the soil has poor drainage due to compaction that's a whole nother issue... perhaps one should till deeper, or farm a different location. Another thing to consider, annuals do not have roots that go very deep nor should they, which is why farmers plow/till only to a certain depth each year depending on which crop, and in fact what you call "hardpan' helps to retain more nutrients and moisture for the crop.
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As "MAY" fit your thinking, right? Change "will..." to "might..." and you just might be correct, perhaps, maybe and yet, still never be.
I find no fault with what Sheldon says here. The fat butt being pulled along behind that tiller is going to compact that soil more than those blades ever will in your little pea patch in the world. Your world just doesn't fit mine BWP, regardless of how many times you and Bro. bill tell me it must be so.
Too many variables that prohibit such an overly broad generalization.
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Gunner wrote:

No that's what the local agronomist tells me can happen in some circumstances. Sustainable and traditional (for want of a better word) garden management practices are not all eco-fringy there is good reason and sound science behind much of it, there is also some like moon planting and biodynamics that is well meaning nonsense.
David
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My point again, David.... CAN, MAY, PERHAPS, COULD, MIGHT ....all the rest of the weasel words for all those many instances when ... may, can, might, should, maybe, kinda, perhaps... don't work.
Take a step back and read what you and dyslectic dan write here, your preaching teaching. Then you express such surprise, positively miffed, by the fact that you do not SEE the need for such work.
" the local agronomist tells me can happen in some

Well, then it must be true, right? .Have your agronomist call my agronomist and they can discuss why there maybe, perhaps, could, possibly be a difference of opinion as to what is sustainable and traditional or as we like to say, BEST PRACTICEI assume your local guy/gal knows all about soil horizons and how each of us garden? For me, I want some OM mixed into my B horizon if that is alright with you. Its good for MY soil, and I dont have this problem of a roto induced plow sole you boys keep telling me definitely will maybe happen.
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Gunner wrote:

So you are looking for certainty, for some Truth that you can always apply without exception. I wonder if you are any kind of gardner at all with that attitude. Why does this have to be treated like a religion? Both you are Billy are missing the point that gardening is complex and different approaches work in different situations, getting dogmatic and calling names gets neither of you anywhere in my estimation you are both just blowing hot air.

I do not see the need because I haven't had a garden yet where it was necessary.

I mention the agronomist because of your snarky "eco-fringy" comment, this is an agricultural problem that is very much mainstream. It has been observed and documented, it is not imaginary. That doesn't mean it happens in all cases. If you want something that is invariably true take up mathematics.
Have your agronomist call my

You are now confirming what I said that the problem varies with circumstance. Why do you have to be so argumentative to get to that? If you want to talk about substance please reply if you want to continue a religious battle with Billy and others I won't be reading.
David
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Mr. Hare-Scott, where in this thread did I blow hot air?? I twice referenced, with sources, hard pan resulting from rototilling. Where in this thread did I miss the point that gardening is complex and different approaches work in different situations? I'm far from calling Gunny names, because my life became simpler when I KF'd him. I suggest that in the future you save your B.S. for your garden.
I'm not responsible for your, or Gunny's "gruntelment". Please, make an effort to get it right next time, or take your poison somewhere else.

America is not broke. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich. <http://theuptake.org/2011/03/05/michael-moore-the-big-lie-wisconsin-is-b roke/>
--
- Billy

Dept. of Defense budget: $663.8 billion
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Billy wrote:

You both should get over your evangelism.
D
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Not looking for certainty, David, just honesty. Lords knows we don't want that evil rototiller to compact the little bit of dirt we have left in our gardens, especially after we used all those evil "chemfarts" and chemicals to make it look so pretty, now do we?
>this is an agricultural problem that is very much mainstream.
Put the anecdotal voodoo science in billys cut and paste amazon eco book of the week club aside for a moment. What is this "mainstream" agricultural problem we need to avoid in our garden? Rototilling?????? or is it the preception you WILL get Plow Sole? really???? a mechanically induced hardpan will might happen under certain conditions in my garden? Piling up a bunch of wet newspaper on top of my clay soil is going to do just that.

No, David, that is my point. There is NO ONE single method and to that point, to demonize rototilling with such BS is intellectual dishonesty.
I have no problem with anyone laying paper all over their property , but don't be "citationing" some very misleading anecdotal eco fringy bullshit saying rototillers WILL cause hardpan and the seven plaques of Egypt . Its the fool behind the tool.... or the keyboard in the case of the OP and his posse.
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It is not dishonesty. Politics is in every subject on the planet. Their are left wing people against nuclear power and right wing for nuclear power and some in the middle. As in Gardening the Left Wing wants to be natural, which is best for the planet. The right wing wants connivence and practical but may not be what is best for the planet in the long run.
I find each person here is true to themselves and in my book diversity is a good thing over conformity. One side can be wrong, if their is a balance in society there is a good chance of survival. If one side grabs too much, I could be very good or more than likely very bad. It is good to have different views.
I am left to center and I suspect Gunner is left to right. Billy is far left which is fine, the world needs a standard bearer for that view. Just like Monsanto is the standard bearer of the far right. Since I am left to center I will place Monsanto on the dark side. Billy to me is like the priest and I am the occasional sinner of gardening.
Gardening in my book Gardening is an ART, not a science and views can differ greatly.
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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William Blake wrote about 1810. "No progress without contraries."
--
Bill S. Jersey USA zone 5 shade garden

"The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow." - Anon
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Gunner wrote:

So you spend another post the same as the last one saying that you agree with me. Weird.
You are Billy should both get over your evangelism.
D
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