[Market-farming] Coleman: "We no longer dig the garden."

Tradingpost tradingpost at lobo.net
Fri Feb 2 11:42:51 EST 2007

And I'm not here to quibble over definitions either. When Coleman states
"we do not dig the garden" there's no interpretation involved. You can call
shallow hoeing of a few weeds by hand "cultivation" if you want.
Personally I favor other non-chemical methods of weed control that have
been demonstrated to work with very little if any hand weeding or hoeing.
You're incorrect about me insisting that "every detail of what works for
Coleman must work for every other farmer".  I said nothing that implied
that. I stated he was writing for market gardeners and he's very successful
at if after 30 years of improving his methods. 

It's pretty clear from a lot of extension research that tillage degrades
soil organic matter almost as fast as it can be added. And constantly
adding organic matter by spreading compost or growing green manure crops
gets into a lot of work. Growing in single file tractor rows that use a lot
of space inefficiently only increases the time and cost of weeding and
irrigation. Reducing work and cost of machinery should be a goal to work
for. I just don't think the typical mechanical market growing approach is
the last word everywhere. And I want market growers to keep doing better
and get enough return on their time and investment to stay on the land and
keep growing. 

paul tradingpost at lobo.net

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

On 2/2/2007 at 11:12 AM road's end farm wrote:

>No, I don't understand that cultivation to control weeds is not 
>tillage. This is a relatively new field and the terminology seems to be 
>a little unsettled, but a strict no-till system (which is what I 
>specified that I meant) not only doesn't invert the soil, it also 
>doesn't disturb the soil surface, except for the minimum opening 
>required to insert the seeds or plants of the desired crop. The terms 
>reduced tillage, minimum tillage, etc. can be used for systems that do 
>include some soil disturbance. Quite a lot of soil biological activity 
>is in that top inch or two of the soil which is disrupted by 

>I'm probably not going to keep posting on this issue. You've got your 
>own definition of no-till, and your own reading of Coleman. I don't 
>know why you're so insistent that every detail of what works for 
>Coleman must work for every other farmer, everywhere; but I'm not going 
>to keep arguing about this. However, I am going to keep reporting my 
>own actual experience on this list; as well as sometimes the experience 
>of others who I know well. Other growers reading the list will of 
>course come to their own individual conclusions as to what techniques 
>to try and as to what works for them; and I hope will also continue to 
>post their own results.
>-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
>Fresh-market organic produce, small scale

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