Rototilling

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Yes David.... I agree with you that saying rototillers WILL cause hardpan is a lie.
Is that easier to understand
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Gunner wrote:

So instead of making that plain in one sentence from the start you throw in a few choice goads about 'eco-fringe' and waste time chiding me because I wasn't being absolute with remarks like 'MAY, PERHAPS, COULD, MIGHT', which qualification you subsequently agree with. So 6 or 10 more posts are added to thread for no good reason. As I said before: weird.
D
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Recognizing sarcasm is not a strong suit huh?
David, what is weird is all this pretentious self righteous indignation of your most precious time being wasted after you give your "position" lecture. Next time just say you all pissy because I said eco-fringy.
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You are correct, rototiling does create a hardpan layer. For a lawn it may not make much of a difference since grass only goes about 3 inches down. For a garden soil a foot is better. If your soil is already compacted and hard as a rock tilling is going to be better that a shovel by hand and risk a heart attack. Double digging is the best way for small gardens. If your garden is large or soil already compacted, rototilling can make life easier. If the first six inches is broken up, one could the take a garden fork and poke holes in the bottom of the hardpan layer.
If the soil is already compacted, worms are not like to be around to begin with. When the soil becomes looser the worms may come around more.
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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Then you didn't do it right.
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Nad R wrote:

I agree breaking ground is the only time I have ever used motorised equipment or dug more than 10cm down, normally I rake in manures etc once or twice a year. I just don't see the need for all this digging.
I have no idea what is achieved by frequent tilling, I suppose it gives a feeling of neatness and uniformity to see all that fluffy soil so regularly disturbed. In a garden you will grow much more for your efforts if you spend less time on neatness and uniformity.
David
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and yet you will tell us?
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White_Noise snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net:

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Crackpots come in all shapes, colors and sizes who assume they have "all" the answers. Meet many wouldn't be a friend to any.
--
bullthistle

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Bull, why do you use so many words to say nothing?
"The philosopher who said that work well done never needs doing over never weeded a garden." - Ray D. Everson
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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Damn, if your not the pot calling the kettle black!
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Billy wrote:
...
i've had mixed results with rototilling.
the most recent round was last summer when i killed off an invasive plant species and then leveled a large area (to eliminate a gully that was forming).
the tilling did help break the soil up making raking and leveling a much easier task. it also provided a nice fluffy seedbed for the spiral design i planted (too fluffy, i should have firmed it up a bit before seeding it in).
8 months later... the seedlings have crowns 3-5cm above the soil. i'm not sure how the deer and bunnies will crop them, but i'm hoping not too low. and i'm also wondering how they will do if we get a cold snap without snow cover. if that will freeze-dry the crowns and force them to start over from below.
last winter we had good snow cover and i didn't lose much of anything. we'll see how the next winter goes.
the major negative from the tilling was the spread of a different invasive plant species seeds through the area. i now have about 20-30 more hours of hand weeding to get it out and then consistent weeding to keep it out (probably for a few years before it will be gone). luckily i've done this before for this species so i know it can be done. i won't resort to spraying again. most of the seedlings are still alive under the smothering growth, they just aren't going to perform as well as i'd like until i free them up.
the 9 hours of weeding i've already done is looking nice as the rains have perked the seedlings up. now a few more days of sunshine to dry things out so i can finish the rest. the plants need to get some more growth on to be self-shading before the hot and dryer period starts up.
the clay is about as compacted as it was before i tilled. tilling didn't accomplish much there. once the worms finished up all the rotted organic material from before i'm not seeing much activity, except in the pathway where i'm piling the weeds.
the next big project is to terrace the red patch, i'm turning it into a mixed garden. i won't till it because it has hundreds of perennials already that i want to leave in place as much as possible. i hope i can start that tomorrow or the next day. even if i can only get the top few levels done that would be a big help and a nice start.
i can't think of any other gardens i would have to till. the biggest garden i normally spade wouldn't do as well if i tilled. i need the larger clumps of soil to pile up for a long mound i make to plant the cosmos on. it being a low spot i use the trench to catch water and the mound to keep the cosmos high, dry and the roots happy. if it were tilled the soil would run down faster and the cosmos would fall over in the wind.
my other previous uses of tilling has been mostly to mix amendments. for larger areas now i've just mixed it by hoe in the wheelbarrow and then spread it out. for smaller already established gardens i don't do that any more. if something needs to be added, i put it in the mulch and the worms, rain and gravity do their thing to incorporate it. peaceful that way...
songbird
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You mean you should have rolled it?

What kind of seedlings?

You will get that from spading the soil as well.

You didn't blend in sand, and organic material? Are we talking lawn, ornamentals, or veggies?

Do mean that you're not seeing worms, or not seeing the benefit of the worms? Could it be the vermicide that you committed with the rototiller? When you dig, do you find earthworms? (How many, and what size?)

When soil is first prepped for a garden, rototilling, and double digging make sense, because it will speed up the development of the soil (still the hardpan problem created by the rototiller still needs to be addressed. After the garden is established, both (rototilling, and double digging) just undo the work that the worms, fungi, and other members of the soil ecosystem have done.
--
Gaia's Garden, Second Edition: A Guide To Home-Scale Permaculture
(Paperback)
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In article

Oops, besides tilling, the "N" in NPK also stimulates microorganisms to devour the organic material (carbon) in the soil. The best balance of carbon to nitrogen is the 25/1 ration, I've been yammering on about. The up-shot of it all is that your soil will be better aerated, and will drain better if the tunneling by insects, and worms isn't destroyed with a shovel, or that "vermicidal apocalypse" called the rototiller. But, hey, if someone doesn't want to preserve aerated and better draining soil, it's no skin off my nose.

"Tickle the earth with a hoe, it will laugh a harvest." - Mary Cantell
--
- Billy

Bush's 3rd term: Obama plus another elective war
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