[Market-farming] How to Plow
PBock at avox.zodiac.com
PBock at avox.zodiac.com
Wed Oct 15 14:07:41 EDT 2008
Just for good measure I should put in a plug for the book "Ploughman's
Folly". "Journey to forever" has a digitized copy that you can read for
Even if you don't believe that you can eliminate plowing, this book at
least asks the question of why do you need to plow?
A low mow, then a disking to open it up a bit, then a fall cover crop like
winter-rye. In the spring / early summer go over it with a cover crop
roller to crimp the rye stems. You can find cover crop roller plans and
info at newfarm's website.
http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/no-till_revolution This produces a great
thick mulch for weed suppression. The Rodale guys on the newfarm site
pull a no-till planter with a front mounted roller-crimper, so they
roller-crimp and plant in one pass. The crimping process cause the plant
to die by dehydration and prevents regrowth as could result from a mowing.
The cool part of this cover crop mulching system is that you get 100%
cover crop kill without herbicides and then the resulting mulch keeps you
from needing herbicides to handle weeds. The mulch breaks down over the
season and gives you organic matter for your soil. The mulch also allows
more water (rain) to penetrate your soil because it keeps the raindrops
from crusting over your soil surface.
Also, it turns out that mycorrhizal fungi are attracted to plants like
Winter-rye. INVAM's website has more information about how to propagate
mycorrhizal fungi through spore production. http://invam.caf.wvu.edu/ The
cool part is that a winter rye cover crop will allow any existing native
mycorrhizal populations to flourish. The death of the cover crop will
cause massive spoartion (fungi seed production), just at the time your
main crop is germinating. Mycorrhizal's will help the most in poor soils.
They develop less in soils with higher organic matter, because the host
plant depends on them less for nutrition.
The newfarm site has some emerging info about mycorrhizal fungi's ability
to increase crop growth. The fungi create a symbiotic relationship with a
host plant. They effectively extend the root surface area a 100 fold.
This lets the palnt "access" more soil nutrients. The plant feeds the
fungus simple sugars in return.
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 07:42:36 -0400
From: Andy Fellenz <fellenz at fltg.net>
Subject: [Market-farming] How to Plow
To: Market Farming <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
Message-ID: <48F5D72C.80808 at fltg.net>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
I'm scaling up and looking for information on setting up and operating
larger equipment, specifically the best way to open up and plow fields
which have been mowed, but not planted in a long (>15 years) time. Up
to now I've usually worked up 1/4-1/2 acre at a time at the most and
used a 3pt mounted rototiller.
I'll be planting larger areas next year and am looking for good how-to
guides. On the equipment side for the larger fields I have an Allis
Chalmers 180 (~70hp) with a 14" Oliver plow (plow can be set up as 3 or
4 bottoms), 8' disk, 12' disk, 8' cultipacker, 10' cultimulcher, 8'
S-Tine cultivator. I've mowed the field this season and may have time
to get out and fall plow if it makes sense.
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