Tomatoville® Gardening Forums


Notices

A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old April 18, 2015   #16
Cole_Robbie
Tomatovillian™
 
Cole_Robbie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Illinois, zone 6
Posts: 7,013
Default

I was wondering about cover crops. I think I would be better off just leaving my black plastic on all winter than trying to take it off and grow a cover crop.
Cole_Robbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 18, 2015   #17
Redbaron
Tomatovillian™
 
Redbaron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 4,367
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole_Robbie View Post
I was wondering about cover crops. I think I would be better off just leaving my black plastic on all winter than trying to take it off and grow a cover crop.
I planted rye and peas last fall on 6 rows. It's about knee tall right now. I'll let you know how it goes. Kinda hoping I can harvest some snap peas before I need to mow it down to make room for tomatoes and peppers. They are blooming right now.
__________________
Scott

AKA The Redbaron

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."
Bill Mollison
co-founder of permaculture

Last edited by Redbaron; April 18, 2015 at 05:24 PM.
Redbaron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 18, 2015   #18
cjp1953
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Cuyahoga Falls,Ohio
Posts: 495
Default

Everyone one's different,you can plant into the cover crop without turning it.But with rye you need to cut it back of kill it off.It can grow very fast with warmer weather.I like the fact that it is a green manure and vetch adds nitrogen to my soil.
cjp1953 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 23, 2015   #19
Cole_Robbie
Tomatovillian™
 
Cole_Robbie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Illinois, zone 6
Posts: 7,013
Default

I hauled six truck loads of dirt over the past two days. My last four rows are ready for plastic: http://i.imgur.com/8nZGD6b.jpg

All of it was shoveled by hand. I caught every worm I could. There were a lot.
Cole_Robbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 23, 2015   #20
Gardadore
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Saylorsburg, PA
Posts: 194
Default

Over 50 years ago I came across a marvelous book by Ruth Stout called "The No Work Garden". It was a very readable book with a good, literally down to earth common sense method of growing things. As a teenager I was very impressed and have never forgotten her admonition that if you till the soil you will upset, if not destroy, the balance of all the living microbes below. Consequently I try to dig as little as possible. For the last 8 years I have grown tomatoes in straw or hay bales and used the decomposed material after the season in my beds. My garden soil has never been better and is easy to work with my hands.
You can get good general info about her method and a list of her works at http://www.goveganic.net/article182.html

For you mystery fans she was the sister of Rex Stout, who wrote the Nero Wolfe novels!

When I read the Lasagna Gardening Book, I immediately thought of Ruth Stout. Sometimes the old methods are still the best methods. Nothing wrong with tweaking the system to meet modern needs but the principles don't change! So Cole Robbie, I believe you are on the right track and will love your "no till" method and its results. Do see if you can pick up one of her books somewhere. Amazon.com offers several of them. They really are a good read since both brother and sister possessed a lot of wit! Good luck in your endeavor and do keep us posted concerning your results!
Gardadore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 23, 2015   #21
AKmark
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Wasilla Alaska
Posts: 1,535
Default

Cole, you should have Popeye arms and the GI Joe with the kungfu grip, after shoveling that much dirt. And a backache
AKmark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 23, 2015   #22
AlittleSalt
Tomatovillian™
 
AlittleSalt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Zone 8A Texas Heat Zone 9
Posts: 8,835
Default

Cole, I agree. I've looked at this thread countless times.

Lol AKmark, I'm sure Cole has large forearm muscles. Long handled shovels make things so much easier. All that shoveling builds triceps too.
AlittleSalt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 24, 2015   #23
Cole_Robbie
Tomatovillian™
 
Cole_Robbie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Illinois, zone 6
Posts: 7,013
Default

lol, do u guys have facebook friends who do P90x and are always posting about it? I do. I like to call my manure hauling workout Poop90x.
Cole_Robbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 24, 2015   #24
Mike723
Tomatovillian™
 
Mike723's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: CT
Posts: 292
Default

Last year was my first year with no-till in the "old garden" and I'll tell you the soil this year is absolutely gorgeous.. Nice rich coffee color, light, fluffy and teaming with life - I mulched with approximately 2-4" of grass clippings and shredded leaves last year. I'll do the same with that plot this year.. No tomatoes though as to avoid another year of septoria..


Quote:
Originally Posted by cjp1953 View Post
I'm not using a tiller but today I turned my winter crop of vetch and rye under with a shovel.In 4 weeks I'll use my garden fork to work my cotton seed meal and garden tone in.Not really no till,but I don't lose many worms with a shovel as I would with a tiller.I kept a layer of straw 8" deep as a mulch cover in the garden last year and will repeat again this year.
I planted Hairy Vetch last fall in my new hoop house rows .. I'm tossing around my kill method and was thinking of just chopping it with some lawn shears (during flowering stage of course) and very gently working it in. I only have 3 rows approximately 3' x 30' so it isn't much in terms of labor either way... Have you had good results with just turning it over?
Mike723 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 24, 2015   #25
Misfit
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 165
Default

Looking good, keep us updated!

I started a new plot last year, going no till. Cardboard, compost, and shredded leaves on top of the grass. It produced pretty good, even though the soil was rock hard and had no worms in it.

I planted out some of my tomatoes the other day. The soil was noticeably much easier to dig out (tomato holes). The best part, each hole had 2-4 worms in it. I'm happy I gave it a try.

-Jimmy
Misfit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 5, 2015   #26
Cole_Robbie
Tomatovillian™
 
Cole_Robbie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Illinois, zone 6
Posts: 7,013
Default

I may have overdone it a little on transporting too many pill bugs. One plant site out of my 77 in the high tunnel keeps getting eaten. It's on plant #3 at the moment. Several of my other plants have chewed-on stems.

But overall, everything looks great. The high tunnel plants are taking off and have begun to flower. When I pull weeds from around the edges of the black plastic, ants and pill bugs erupt out of the ground. I know I have a lot of earthworms and grub worms as well. My beds are a colony of life.

By contrast, I also planted some tilled ground in a couple rows a family member let me use in their garden. I never saw a single worm, or really any living thing in the soil at all. I don't expect the tomatoes there to taste very good; I just want them for seed.

I had a few outdoor plants eaten by a rabbit. When I replanted those sites, I eventually stopped carrying my little hand shovel that I usually plant with. I don't need it, because my hand easily slides a foot deep into the soil to set a new plant.

I'm convinced that these will be the best-tasting tomatoes that I have ever grown.
Cole_Robbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 5, 2015   #27
Redbaron
Tomatovillian™
 
Redbaron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 4,367
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole_Robbie View Post
I may have overdone it a little on transporting too many pill bugs. One plant site out of my 77 in the high tunnel keeps getting eaten. It's on plant #3 at the moment. Several of my other plants have chewed-on stems.

But overall, everything looks great. The high tunnel plants are taking off and have begun to flower. When I pull weeds from around the edges of the black plastic, ants and pill bugs erupt out of the ground. I know I have a lot of earthworms and grub worms as well. My beds are a colony of life.

By contrast, I also planted some tilled ground in a couple rows a family member let me use in their garden. I never saw a single worm, or really any living thing in the soil at all. I don't expect the tomatoes there to taste very good; I just want them for seed.

I had a few outdoor plants eaten by a rabbit. When I replanted those sites, I eventually stopped carrying my little hand shovel that I usually plant with. I don't need it, because my hand easily slides a foot deep into the soil to set a new plant.

I'm convinced that these will be the best-tasting tomatoes that I have ever grown.
Congratulations! Wish you the best Robbie.

I found that to be the case myself. Once you go no till you never go back! But that doesn't mean there are no nuances here and there. Like you said there is a whole teaming colony of life. Not all that life is beneficial, but most is. You still get some pest damages, but seldom a whole crop. I also lose a few plants here and there. The ones that make it though, WOW. And the soil simply is incredible. No wonder there is no need to till. With all that teaming life, the soil for sure gets plenty churned up by worms and such.
__________________
Scott

AKA The Redbaron

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."
Bill Mollison
co-founder of permaculture
Redbaron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 23, 2015   #28
Cole_Robbie
Tomatovillian™
 
Cole_Robbie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Illinois, zone 6
Posts: 7,013
Default

Here's a funny addendum to this story. I just figured out that my EZ-Flo injector is not working at all. I found a TDS meter and tested the water coming out of the drip tape. It is exactly the same as tap water. I can see bubbles in the output line of the EZ Flo. They don't flow; they just sit there. And the solution in my tank isn't changing color at all, like it should as it gets diluted.

so I am organic(ish)....by complete accident.

All my plants look great. I am growing mostly compact determinates, and they are already chest-high. I have small tomatoes on them now, and look to have ripe ones in about three weeks.
Cole_Robbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 23, 2015   #29
Redbaron
Tomatovillian™
 
Redbaron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 4,367
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole_Robbie View Post
Here's a funny addendum to this story. I just figured out that my EZ-Flo injector is not working at all. I found a TDS meter and tested the water coming out of the drip tape. It is exactly the same as tap water. I can see bubbles in the output line of the EZ Flo. They don't flow; they just sit there. And the solution in my tank isn't changing color at all, like it should as it gets diluted.

so I am organic(ish)....by complete accident.

All my plants look great. I am growing mostly compact determinates, and they are already chest-high. I have small tomatoes on them now, and look to have ripe ones in about three weeks.
It's a sign!
__________________
Scott

AKA The Redbaron

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."
Bill Mollison
co-founder of permaculture
Redbaron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 23, 2015   #30
Cole_Robbie
Tomatovillian™
 
Cole_Robbie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Illinois, zone 6
Posts: 7,013
Default

On an unrelated thread, worth posted a picture of a meat injector, which is a giant syringe. If I can find one with a long enough needle, or make an attachment to make it longer, I don't see why I couldn't go around with a bucket of organic ferts and inject the raised beds that way. Then I could use goopy organic products that would have clogged up my drip tape.
Cole_Robbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:25 PM.


★ Tomatoville® is a registered trademark of Commerce Holdings, LLC ★ All Content ©2017 Commerce Holdings, LLC ★