Has anyone tried no till gardening?
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    Registered User mom of 3 NC's Avatar
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    Default Has anyone tried no till gardening?

    I have been reading alot about it. I have a small back yard . So theres not a lot of space. I think it would be a good way to garden with out having to break up the ground much. I would love to hear thoughts from others who have tried no till gardening.

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    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    I don't really do the "technical kind" of no till like they
    describe here............

    No-till Gardening | Eartheasy Blog

    But, over the years I have developed my own version.............I don't like to till and DO THINK that it stirs up all kinds of weeds.

    That said, there have been some years ---like last year, that I just had to do some. Was adding calcium to the soil and felt it would be better if tilled in..........so the birds wouldn't/couldn't come along and eat it all.

    I also haven't dug down as deep as I should have...........with my rocks it could take me all summer just to get that deep but I have it deep enough where I get a pretty good garden. (I am probably down about 18 inches....maybe a little less in spots.)

    When I compare my garden area............untilled..........to my neighbor behind me.......tilled........and we both mulch about the same...........he has THREE TIMES as many weeds as I ever get.

    I'll take the 'no till' any time.............and........I have two areas in my backyard that EVERY TIME you move even a shovel full of dirt this nasty morning glory/bindweed stuff starts coming up. Have read where those seeds can last in the ground for 15 - 25 YEARS!!! It is really nasty stuff and almost IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of.................UGH! Again.........my neighbor was fighting it really bad all this summer!! I had some but not like they did.

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    Registered User MyLastRook's Avatar
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    Lots of Hippie communes tried it in the 60's.

    It's why most of them failed.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mom of 3 NC View Post
    I have been reading alot about it. I have a small back yard . So theres not a lot of space. I think it would be a good way to garden with out having to break up the ground much. I would love to hear thoughts from others who have tried no till gardening.
    No till is nonsense. In a 4 by 12 foot area, a lot of vegetable can be grown. Slap some deck board together and fill the cavity with good soil and grow. Carrots, tomatoes, beets, potatoes, parsnips, lettuce, onions, leeks, cucumbers on a trellis and you will even have room to spare. Vegetables can be very close together and thrive.

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    Thank you for your thoughts. Planning a garden for next spring will take little work.. I have a lot for seeds . So many things I want to grow .

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    well here's what 70 yr old mama does:
    she container gardens in 5 gal buckets- her method as follows; cut a drain hole in the bottom of the container, put some pea gravel in the bottom about 2'', then back fill with soil mix in a bit of black cow (or brown cow) manure. she grows lovely tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers (I rigged up a trellis for them to climb on so she wouldn't have to bend).
    the earth at my home is red ala clay not suitable for anything so I also container garden : went to $ tree and bought $20 worth of bucket/pails/pans- amend the soil (peat, perilite, soil) it's my version of mel's sq ft gardening.
    I'm preparing the area between my sidewalk and kitchen widow for layer garden: once again bad earth so I am putting down layers of cardboard, newpaper, soil mix, and compost for next yrs growing season... I've got it built up to about 6 inches right now, I keep the soil exposed so the 'jerk' (apt manger) won't give me grief.

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    I do a form of no-till with Square Foot Gardening and it really does work! But I'll warn you that if you buy store-bought compost and manure you will end up with weeds the first year.

    You'll have to be agressive and get the weeds out before they set seed.

    We get free compost from the county dump. It's really great and almost weed seed free!

    You can grow a lot more food in raised beds than you think is possible. Especially since you aren't trying to garden on worn out soil.

    Backwoodsgirl

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    I did square foot gardening for the first time last year. I did use store bought compost and did get some weeds; BUT it sure wasn't the overwhelming amount before the square foot gardening. I used the store bought because I didn't have enough time to have enough of my own compost.

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    I'm working on learning the square foot garden method as well. It is very nice to work with and my beds are raised. I had a fair harvest but the areas are full sun all summer and my beans fried.

    I did use store purchased compost as the dump was "out" of it. I'll need to do more drive by's this coming season.

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    I'm working on learning the square foot garden method as well. It is very nice to work with and my beds are raised. I had a fair harvest but the areas are full sun all summer and my beans fried. Learning what things needed more space is the difficulty for me, because the rutabagas over grew the carrots too quickly.

    I did use store purchased compost as the dump was "out" of it. I'll need to do more drive by's this coming season.

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    You still have to do the initial ground breaking work to establish the garden. It's a lie that weeds won't grow if you don't till. You'll have them in the soil when you first turn it over, and they'll come from all over, in your compost and seed packets even. Plus, you have root and rhizome fragments left from when you remove the "lawn" that will continue to grow.

    Mulching is good to keep moisture in, but top dressing fertilizer puts the nutrients on the surface, and guess what, the plants grow up to a foot underground, so it's really best to till under at least once a growing season.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contrary Housewife View Post
    You still have to do the initial ground breaking work to establish the garden. It's a lie that weeds won't grow if you don't till. You'll have them in the soil when you first turn it over, and they'll come from all over, in your compost and seed packets even. Plus, you have root and rhizome fragments left from when you remove the "lawn" that will continue to grow.

    Mulching is good to keep moisture in, but top dressing fertilizer puts the nutrients on the surface, and guess what, the plants grow up to a foot underground, so it's really best to till under at least once a growing season.
    I really, really don't till!

    I put out proffessional quality woven weed block and put the raised beds on top. The beds are 12 inches deep, so yes, the roots may go down into the soil beneath but for the most part, that weed barrier works really well.

    I use a hoe, I don't walk on it so it doesn't get compressed.

    Backwoodsgirl

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ceashels View Post
    I'm working on learning the square foot garden method as well. It is very nice to work with and my beds are raised. I had a fair harvest but the areas are full sun all summer and my beans fried. Learning what things needed more space is the difficulty for me, because the rutabagas over grew the carrots too quickly.

    I did use store purchased compost as the dump was "out" of it. I'll need to do more drive by's this coming season.
    Try raising some short Indian corn and put the beans in next to the corn about a week after you plant the corn. It will help shade the beans and the beans will use the corn as a trellis.

    Also, I learned that watering each plant rather than the entire bed really helps. The water is focused on the roots of each plant rather than all of the soil around it. I use a watering can and rain barrels. Even during a drought I get great results with that.

    Backwoodsgirl

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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwoodsgirl View Post
    I really, really don't till!

    I put out proffessional quality woven weed block and put the raised beds on top. The beds are 12 inches deep, so yes, the roots may go down into the soil beneath but for the most part, that weed barrier works really well.

    I use a hoe, I don't walk on it so it doesn't get compressed.

    Backwoodsgirl
    I did not till either; I put down really thick newspapers and I think the weeds that I did get were dropped in by the birds. I cannot begin to tell you how few weeds I had compared to the last 30 years of gardening at 2 houses. And I didn't really raise my beds just placed the square foot gardening box on top of my already there garden.

    I also watered with soaker hose at ground level rather than a sprinkler that waters the leaves.

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    I'm a lazy gardener. We have a very small raised bed garden: 6 by 8 foot. I put a thick layer of newspapers in, then soil, and then my plants. I heavily mulched them with grass clippings and more newspapers. Had 8 tomato plants this year, along with peppers, green beans and zukes. I watered well when I planted, and then let the rain take care of the watering. We went into drought conditions mid summer thru the fall, and I still did not water, and the garden just produced its little guts out. We had wonderful tomatoes, good peppers and beans, and the zukes were so-so. I put old bed sheets over the garden in the early spring and again in the fall when frost was predicted. Doing this we were able to keep everything going for quite a while. Then I picked my green tomatoes, along with a section of vine, and put them in the basement. We enjoyed our last ripe tomato this week!!!! So I'm a believer in the no-till, square foot, mulched gardening concept!
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