[Market-farming] Coleman: "We no longer dig the garden." / No-till in the organic mainstream

Tradingpost tradingpost at lobo.net
Thu Feb 1 09:37:25 EST 2007


That clod business sounds all too familiar, Steve. I grew up with blackland
clay in east TX, the kind of stuff that won't grow good crops. In the 50s
there the cotton farmers were ruining their soil and all went out of
business. When the cotton wouldn't grow more than knee high they just gave
up and moved to town. It takes time to get workable after rain and then
when it dries it crusts over and cracks. Needless to say that's very low in
organic matter from yearly plowing, discing, and weed cultivating. As a
teenager I (and my dad) spent days putting out Coastal Bermuda roots in one
pasture and then vetch in it. After a couple years the Bermuda was knee
high in most places and where the vetch took hold the grass was bigger and
thicker. My dad had succeeded with changing it to permanent pasture that
held moisture and provided good grazing for our Herefords nine months of
the year. And the soil itself changed. I couldn't understand then, but I do
now. Busting up clods is no way to farm, unless you want to lose the farm.
Cover crops, grasses, legumes build soil structure and soil biology, and
the soil improves its productivity and moisture retentiveness without
plowing, tilling, and cultivating. Seeing is believing.

paul tradingpost at lobo.net

*********** REPLY SEPARATOR  ***********

On 2/1/2007 at 12:43 AM Steve Diver wrote:

>Paul wrote:
>
>"I'm sure you understand that shallow weed hoeing 
>(or using the broadfork) is not tillage."
>
>
>Fyi, I've always viewed the broadfork as the gardeners
>equivalent of a chisel plow (primary tillage), to be followed
>by a Warren hoe and then a four-prong rake (secondary tillage)
>to break up the clods and prepare a seedbed.  
>
>Steve Diver
>






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