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Already Planning Next Years Garden!


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#1 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted April 30, 2012 - 08:40 AM

Well it's still early and less that a third of the garden is planted. Yet I have seen some issues that will need to be addressed for next years garden.
While we had a very mild and dry winter, already this spring we have had several gully washer rains.
2- 3/4" rains over the weekend. Our soil conditions have gone from very dry to overly wet in just two weeks.
Last year and again this year I have tilled the whole garden area and have now got soil erosion( I had none last year).
Al's "Trying Something Differernt" thread has got me thinking.
It's not all that smart to till over 6000 square feet when the vast majority of it is walkways. A serious waste of labor and space? When I got to thinking a bout it I have a strip of unused soil on each side of each planted row.
Besides which all those bare dirt walkways can erode and I'm not doing anything to build up the soil in those areas. And it does not make for a happy home when your tracking all that dirt into the house.
So while I'm pretty well stuck with what I've got this year, I'm planning to go a different direction.

Al's strips make a lot of sense, grassy walkways would be much nicer and keep the happy home.
Allow one to build up the soils in that area not planted by planting nitrogen fixing grasses for future crop rotation
I also want to mechanize more of the tillage work and will need to adapt equipment to this technique.
We have been very succesful and pleased with using raised beds and wide row planting w/o surounds. So I'll be planning to set up a GT mounted Tiller and Bed Shaper over the rest of this year. Am in the process of studying how the commercial Market gardeners are shaping beds, to
Get ideas on how to set up a bed shaper. I've looked at the disk shapers and pan shapers and am thinking a combination of both would be best if I can size somthing in the pull capacity of the GT.
.
Since I'm putting a lot of labor into forming beds by hand raking and I'm not as strong as I was 30 yrs ago..I tire out too soon.
I'm thinking 36" beds can be tended from either side and 36" grassy stirps between the rows.

#2 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 30, 2012 - 09:29 AM

I've been working with alternating row spacing, wide enough to run a tiller down, then narrow to conserve space. Corn, for instance, is two rows 18 inches apart, one row 36 inches over, then 18 inches again. Even with 18 inch spacing, I'm working the rows from the closest side, I would expect you would have to do the same with your 36 inch rows. Somehow the idea of ALLOWING grass to remain in the garden just strikes me as wrong. But you are "growing" a green manure crop, so that is different.

#3 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted April 30, 2012 - 10:28 AM

. Somehow the idea of ALLOWING grass to remain in the garden just strikes me as wrong. But you are "growing" a green manure crop, so that is different.


Your certainly not alone in that Howard! Growing up in the midwest in the 50's & 60's when full tillage was practiced, even No Till seems counter intuitive but seems to be proving benificial. And Grass is the enemy.
But having been involved in many organizations over the years, I've found "We've always done it that way" is the biggest deterent to progress. So I find I have to force myself to be open minded and flexible.
I do have a reat motivator, in that my wife pushes me to try new things in the garden and many work very well.
So Green Manureing in strips are worth a try in this case.

#4 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted May 01, 2012 - 08:00 AM

I wanted to post some pictrues of a comunity garden in Kutztown Pa from a few years ago but can't find them . Anyway it was about the size ofa a football field with grass walkways about 3' wide with 3' beds across the whole field , they where using a push mower on the walkways and another fellow was spreading mushroom soil on the beds , really looked good . I'm not making my beds permenment so depending on what's growing in fall I'll plant more winter cover crop . I would like to try low tunnels to cover the beds using 1/2" emt bent in a hoops for getting a head start on things and still be able to remove them before it gets too hot , the plastic would also last a lot longer too . I did put pvc hoops on the rasied bed this year and that's working well , 16' x 6' plastic attached to 2x2" 12' long , very easy to roll up and down as needed . A bed shaper would be very handy , I tried something like that last year for the sweet potatoes using a single gang disc , it kind of worked but I think that are better disc more suited for doing that then mine , Al

#5 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted May 01, 2012 - 09:49 PM

Al the low hoops sound good.
i was reading an article about that recently and that's another tangent that occupies my mind.. I right now have so many ideas bouncing around in my head on the bed shapers.
i don't know which way to go. I do know that on my first rear tine tiller I had a Hiller Furower that worked great for hilling potatoes.
I've seen bedders as simple as a tool bar with two hiller discs(Hiller Discs can be gotten at Agri-Supply.com) mounted on it. And there are pan bedders.up to and including pro models That mount plastic rolls and lay the mulch and form the bed in one pass..
What is currently in my head is a pan with angled rollers for the bed sides attatched to a rotary tiller for a one pass bedding process.
Though those could be separated and do it in two passes. As I said Ideas,I have plenty of just no definate plans.

#6 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted May 02, 2012 - 05:48 AM

Having beds shaped as you till sound like a good idea. Keeping the tilled dirt for falling back into the cover crop , which happened to me , Having some type of attachmant to keep the dirt into the bad would be nice to have but on my tiller it"s just even with the one tire and comes up a little short on the other side (only 32" wide ). Might be tough for that machine Didn't some tillers have some type of flat hinged metal to flaten the tilled area ? Keep throwing out ideas, you'll come up with something , Al

#7 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted May 02, 2012 - 06:07 AM

I hope to add that hinged flap to my tiller, just haven't come across the right metal to use yet. Without it, it throws clods all over when you start digging in.

#8 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted May 02, 2012 - 08:21 AM

Yes many tillers do have the hinged panel on the back. The tiller i'm usig now is a walk behind, Troy-Bilt Super Bronco(16" swath) and if the soil is broken up good the hinged panel does a good job of leveling the soil behind it. This tiller is the Counter rotating model and I have mixed emotions about it. On tough ground it takes a lot of the buck out of the job, but sometimes does not have enough traction to offset the pull back of the tines(Too much wheel spin). Also because the tines come up from below ground it does not chop the trash as wel as I think a clockwise rotating machine will.. Chopping the trash is a big asset in incorporating more organic matter to improve the soil. I think the ideal is to have both forward and counter rotating machines. I'm looking for a tractor mounted tiller and depending on what I find will determine how we go with this.

Al I don't think the offset would have to be a big disadvantage. As I've said I'm all over the net looking for ideas and especially the way the Pro Market Gardeners are doing things. And looking at the tillers built for CUT's one of the biggest selling features pushed is the ability to offset the tiller. One would just have to drive a bit offcenter to accomodate the offset of the tiller.
The older Troy-bilt Horse models has side skirts on the tiller pan to keep the dirt from rolling out the sides.
Something my Super Bronco does not have and it leaves ridges at the sides of the tiller.
I assume your talking about a tiller on your Power King? I've never been around one though the power king is on my Coveted list. How big of a job would it be to make side skirts for the tiller? The leveling panel could be as simple as a flat panel hinged to the back of the tiller pan.

Edited by JD DANNELS, May 02, 2012 - 08:29 AM.


#9 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted May 02, 2012 - 10:46 AM

Up until this year making the cover crop walk ways I didn't even worry about how much dirt kicked up on the sides , I bet it wouldn't be had to attach something to keep the dirt from spilling over maybe something as simple a a piece of 1/8" steel bent like on those bed shapers , for me it would only need to be across the back and on the off set side anyway , now you got me thinking again ,, thanks Al

Edited by Alc, May 02, 2012 - 11:01 AM.





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