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

Tradingpost tradingpost at lobo.net
Fri Feb 2 22:22:16 EST 2007

So I'll refer to the broadfork work as modified no-till. I haven't used it
yet but double digging is impractical in my shallow topsoil, so I'll give
up double digging in favor of the broadfork, and continue building up beds
as I have been.  The point is not to mix up the soil layers, as you say
"pulverized to smithereens". Not to keep exposing soil organic matter to
air and preserve soil moisture, structure, and biology. I take it Pat
Herbert used this method to build SOM by 4%. That's a significant increase,
and whatever he did needs to be repeated on a million farms. 

paul tradingpost at lobo.net

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On 2/2/2007 at 5:45 PM Steve Diver wrote:

>I'm using the broadfork from Johnny's Selected Seeds
>on twelve biointensive beds measuring 5' x 20' each.
>The "clods" I refer to are more like soil chunks. The
>soil has been improved through cover cropping,
>composting, mulching, and broadforking for several years
>and each year the beds get easier to work through
>improved soil tilth.
>The broadfork lifts up huge chunks of soil from a depth.
>You can work-up soil two feet wide with each forking.
>Mainly I wrote about the broadfork because it is a form
>of deep tillage and it doesn't seem right to associate the
>broadfork with no-tillage.
>I also have some beds that I manage as no-till and they
>are deep mulched with no digging or forking. 
>By the way, I have the wooden handled broadfork from
>Johnny's, yet I convinced my brother to get the steel
>handled broadfork from Lee Valley Garden Tools.
>I've used them both and much prefer the wooden handled
>model from Johnny's.  The tines are slightly narrower and
>dig into the soil with much greater ease. In addittion, the
>wooden tool is lighter in weight, which makes a big difference
>after a few hours working in the field.
>In fact, after deep forking there is a way to get on your knees
>and "sift" through the soil by rocking the broadfork back
>and forth, thus breaking up the soil chunks.  It's easier to
>manage the lighter fork with this sifting method.  
>When you follow the broadfork with a Warren hoe
>and then a garden rake, the soil has been aerated and
>loosened for seeding or transplanting, but it hasn't been
>pulverized to smithereens.   There are many soil
>aggregates and habitats left for fungi, worms, and
>soil creatures.
>Pat Herbert was at the Acres USA conference in December.
>He raises hundreds of acres of organic vegetables near
>Hollister, CA.  He attended the Luebke compost seminars
>in the mid-1990s and started making humifed compost; i.e.,
>clay-amended and microbially-inoculated compost.  In the
>past ten years, he has raised the percent SOM on his soil
>test by 4% using humified compost, cover cropping, and
>and the "right kind of tillage."
>Steve Diver
>Market-farming mailing list
>Market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org

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