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 Post subject: non-till gardening
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 8:31 am 
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Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 7:36 am
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Location: Glen Rose, TX
Captain Compost,
I've been reading your posts on compost. I, too use a tremendous amount of horse manure and have great results. Could you tell me what the non-till method is? I'm sure it's just what it says, but I'm unfamiliar with it.

Thanks for your great input.

Rick


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 9:27 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2003 8:15 am
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Location: Odenville,Alabama
Sure. There are several modern no-till gardening methods today. There are several books on the subject too. One of the most famous is Patricia Lanza's books, "Lasagne Gardening" parts one and two.

My version of no-till is fairly simple. I have a 3 acre home/farm. About 3/4 acre is all no-till borderless raised beds. Most of my beds are about 3-4' long, all around the house and backyard.

I start by mowing down any existing weeds or grass on a virgin spot of land. Then I smother the weeds and green manure mulch with about 6-12" of unfinished compost or horse manure/sawdust that I get weekly from the local equine clinic. Then I put about 1-2" of rich garden dirt, or mature compost on top to guarantee good seed germination of my plants.

If any new weeds pop up through the organic matter, I smother them again with more unfinished compost or an organic mulch like straw or leaves.

I weekly feed my plants and new beds' soil, with lots of aerated teas to maximize aerobic bacteria and fungi in the soil. I also like to make and use lots of fish/seaweed products for my plants' health and growth.

In the fall/winter, I grow lots of legume/grain cover crops like hairy vetch, crimson clover, winter peas, mustard, turnips, whole grain cattle feeds loaded with oats and wheat, and radishes, to get lots of new organic matter and nitrogen-fixation in these borderless raised beds.

I mow and smother these green manures down in early spring or late winter with my scythe, swing blade, hoe, and lots of more unfinished compost. After several days of decomposing, then I'll start planting again.

During the spring/summer months like to grow lots of cover crops like buckwheat, birdseed sunflower seeds, beans, and peas around my crops as great border plants to draw in beneficial insects, and for beauty.

_________________
The entire Kingdom of God can be totally explained as an Organic Garden (Mark 4:26)
William Cureton


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 3:41 pm 
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Location: Odenville,Alabama
I purchase my legume seeds at the local farm feed supply stores here in the Pell City/Birmingham, AL area. I can buy for around $1.00-$1.50 per lb, crimson clover, hairy vetch, or winter peas seeds there.

Now if you can't find the legume seeds you are looking for you can be creative. Fava beans make a great fall/winter legume cover crop. I found some economical fava bean/broad bean seeds at a local oriental market for $2.00/lb.

Any bean or pea seeds, are great legume cover crops. Most beans make great warm season legume cover crop plants.

Any birdseed or whole grain cattle feed is a great non-legume, grain cover crop. Most are loaded with lots of corn, wheat, oats, millet, sunflowers, etc.

I used to use rye grass as a fall/winter grassy cover crop. But now since I switched to no-till gardening, the rye is a little too much work to kill and stay dead for green manuring for me. I switched to using plenty of radish and mustard green seeds instead. It gets thick fast, and its easy to kill.

_________________
The entire Kingdom of God can be totally explained as an Organic Garden (Mark 4:26)
William Cureton


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