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RE: to plow or not to plow

City Guys,

I take my hat off to you. What a huge job you've done already!

It might seem like gilding the lily, but depending on how many folks you
plan to have gardening you may consider  creating raised beds for
individuals  as it prevents border conflicts between gardeners.

I don't know if you intend to use this space primarily as a food resource or
as a mixed public garden as well. 

We do the latter in NYC with 100 X 150 feet ( roughly 5 tenements in space
with their back yards.) http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org 

You'll note that we have a large public garden area with decorative beds and
benches. We also do neighbohood veggie scrap composting in our front garden.
People here are really getting into this. We do get the occasional
inapppropriate item  in the compost, but generally it works well. We also
have a composting section in our rear garden. 

The support that we get from the neighborhood derives in large part from
this public area where non-gardeners can enjoy the formal garden and "go
barefoot in the park." Seniors particulary enjoy the flower beds and the

It really makes me feel good to hear about your garden. Please tell us how
you progress!

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Pat Elazar [SMTP:Pat_Elazar@cwb.ca]
> Sent:	Thursday, August 03, 2000 11:02 AM
> To:	cityguys@discoverynet.com
> Cc:	community_garden@mallorn.com
> Subject:	Re: [cg] to plow or not to plow
> Hi Pat!
> It sounds like you've already done alot of really great work there
> clearing
> rubble down to a depth of 18"! Congratulations on your accomplishments!
> Given your original starting point (rubble-filled former building site), I
> probably would have recommended framing raised beds & trucking in an ideal
> loam
> mix topped up from time to time with some good compost when you could get
> it!
> Plowing is used in commercial agriculture to break up sod & old pasture
> land;
> turning under crop residues where crops like corn & cotton are grown
> continuously & disease/pest pressures would otherwise be intolerable; and
> for
> mixing large amounts of soil ammendments into the soil profile on an
> industrial
> scale.
> Plowing has some advantages:  After plowing a field, it is usually easy to
> prepare a good seed bed by harrowing or disking a couple of times. Plowing
> can
> often bury weed seeds below the zone at which they can effectively
> germinate.
> If done properly & at the correct speed, plowing can thoroughly mix in
> soil
> ammendments on an industrial scale. Done properly on a 1-time-only basis
> to
> break up sod or mix in soil ammendment, plowing should not have much
> negative
> impact on soil structure.
> The dis-advantages are considerable: Populations of micro-organisms are
> buried
> at worst or at best, relocated in soil strata less than ideal for their
> temp &
> oxygen requirements; Organic matter may be buried below the zone where it
> can
> provide its benefits; If improperly done- ie at wrong speed or moisture
> level-
> plowing can harm soil structure. Most of the advantages of plowing can be
> captured by hand digging or machine digging (depending on the scale of
> operation); removing weeds & crop residues for composting
> I hope I've given you some background so that you can make a better
> decision.
> http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/leaflets/planningrs.html
> http://www.attra.org/cgi-bin/htsearch?words=plowing&page=3
> http://www.attra.org/cgi-bin/htsearch?words=plowing&page=2
> http://www.attra.org/cgi-bin/htsearch?words=plowing&page=1
> Patricia Lawson <cityguys@discoverynet.com> on 08/03/2000 07:33:14 AM
> Please respond to cityguys@discoverynet.com
>  To:      community_garden@mallorn.com                        
>  cc:                                                          
>  Subject: [cg] to plow or not                                 
> To Whom It May Concern--
> I am not currently a member of the American Community Garden Association
> but plan to become one.  We have a small community garden in the inner
> city of Kansas City, Kansas.  It is located on a lot, which was formerly
> the site of a house.  The soil was very poor and rubble-filled when we
> began.  We cleared as much as we could--to perhaps a depth of 12-18
> inches--and tilled in several loads of compost.  My question is what
> would be the best way to improve the soil with a bit of grant money we
> have.  Should we continue to add compost to the top and till it in or
> would it be better to hire someone to plow it and plow in compost at a
> deeper level.  I'm not sure how feasible this would be or if a deeper
> plowing would even be that good.  But I've read that tilling can harm
> the soil.  (We try not to overdo it).  Please let me know your thoughts
> on this.  We're thinking of plowing this fall.  Thanks, Pat Lawson,
> Kansas City, Kansas
> _______________________________________________
> community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com
> https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden
> _______________________________________________
> community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com
> https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden

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