[Market-farming] Tillage is tillage
stevegilman at verizon.net
Sat Feb 3 20:18:43 EST 2007
On Feb 2, 2007, at 10:34 PM, market-farming-request at lists.ibiblio.org
> Message: 9
> Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2007 20:33:13 -0700
> From: "Tradingpost" <tradingpost at lobo.net>
> Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Tillage is tillage
> To: market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org
> Message-ID: <200702022033130025.054436F1 at mail.lobo.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1"
> Maybe you could explain that last line, since it seems to
> contradict what
> you say about protecting soil structure and biology:
>> Of course, to reap these benefits you're going to need to use some
>> forms of tillage and cultivation...
> I just don't see the need for it. Why the cost and labor to till and
> paul tradingpost at lobo.net
I suggest you take it from the top and reread the post -- the last
line IS well explained and not at all contradictory.
1. Farming and gardening systems that RELY on herbicides and/or
extensive tillage and cultivation severely impact soil fertility and
exacerbate erosion by oxidizing organic matter, wiping out
microorganisms and destroying soil aggregation -- negatively
affecting the ag system's sustainability. (Midwest soils that were
some 20" deep in the 1800's, now average under 4" -- gone to global
dust and silt in rivers and deltas.)
2. Using sod, cover crops, green manures, etc. in rotations are
necessary to protect soil from erosion and build soil fertility.
3. If you're going to farm or garden ecologically on any scale that
precludes heavy mulching, however, some degree of tillage/cultivation
is necessary to open the sod and reduce weed competition to produce
crops AND to build soil organic matter.
4. And further, heavy mulches/no-till doesn't work in colder climates
because they keep the soil too cold to plant.
Tillage/cultivation is not "bad" per se -- it's a GOOD way to
incorporate cover crops and build soil fertility, for example.
Overuse of tillage, or using methods featuring a constantly open soil
(a la herbicides) is a losing proposition, however.
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