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Re: offering tilling as part of community garden services

  • Subject: [cg] Re: offering tilling as part of community garden services
  • From: Alliums garlicgrower@earthlink.net
  • Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 19:16:10 -0500

Hi, Folks!

We till each spring because with 40+ years of weed seeds in the ground, the garden would be unmanageable without it. We hire a professional who comes in with his industrial-size rototiller and does the job in under an hour. The funds come from a local grant.

The garden is not tilled until I say the ground is ready -- this can be anywhere from the 2nd week of March until the last week of April, depending on that spring's rain (adds days) and wind (removes days) and if folks miss early crops for that year, I hear about it. However, it's also an opportunity to educate people about soil structure (plow too early and the soil structure is destroyed for the year) and the fact that they can plant traditional early spring plants again in the late summer/early fall -- so one's peas may only be delayed, rather than eliminated for that year.

We now have composters in each plot to encourage in-season composting and encourage sheet composting through the fall and winter so that the rototiller in the spring can turn everything under and improve the soil. Those who compost have a lot better soil than those who don't, but if we left the plots as-is, the foxtail, barnyard grass, lambquarters and ragweed would take over. Some people learn and some don't care (and leave the garden), so if your plots are of a decent size (ours are 25 foot square and larger), it's better to till once a year than have an unsightly weed problem for the neighbors to complain about you for.

Dorene Pasekoff, Coordinator
St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden

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St. John's United Church of Christ, 315 Gay Street, Phoenixville, PA 19460

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