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RE: no-till is a failure for some

  • Subject: RE: [cg] no-till is a failure for some
  • From: "Jim Call" jimcall@casagarden.com
  • Date: Fri, 5 May 2006 21:26:20 -0500

My 2 cents worth...

I'm not sure if the no-till would work on a large scale farm, but I think
smaller ones such as CGs would be good candidates.

After 4 years of fighting a poor drainage problem at our new garden
location, we will be converting our CG (.4 acre) into a raised bed format.
I've
posted previously on this listserv concerning this subject... see at.....
http://www.casagarden.com/raised_beds.htm  Although we are slightly
modifying the
illustration, we hope it will work.  See some of our work-in-process....
http://www.casagarden.com/raised_beds_05.htm   The beds are being filled
with shredded wood from a tree service which is delivered to the
garden....free.

The No-Till Method.   After our beds are converted to the raised bed format,
no gardeners will walk on the planting rows... only on the wood chip paths.
This
is important.  During the off season (late fall, winter), the rows will have
a cover crop such as winter rye, clover, or hairy vetch.  A few weeks prior
to planting
the spring crop, I plan to mow the cover down crop with a weedeater and
cover the rows with a weed barrier made from newspaper roll.  These paper
mulching rolls
are actually newspaper sections (no glossy paper) taped end-to-end together
into rolls.  Once again...free.    Shortly before planting day, we will
auger holes and fill
with them with a mixture of chicken manure and compost.  We are ready to
plant!!!  Except Okra and beans, everything we plant are transplants
(donated).

During the growing season, the cover crops' roots will rot which will help
provide nutrients to the soil and aeration.  The paper mulch will suppress
weeds.  Now,
in our case, because we will be broadcasting turnip green seeds in late
summer and early fall, we will use a Mantis tiller to tear up the broken
down newspaper.
Because I am determined to cut down on the volunteer hours needed for weed
control, we will go with a physical weed barrier rather than using
chemicals.

Please note, because converting to a raised bed format is so labor
intensive, I plan on having the city convert 40 % of the garden using a
small tractor. It will
be interesting to see if there is any difference in production levels.

As usual, I welcome any ideas that would make our garden more productive
incorporating a low-cost, efficient, no-chemical approach.  Also, it helps
to recycle.

Jim in Alabama, www.casagarden.com




-----Original Message-----
From: community_garden-admin@mallorn.com
[mailto:community_garden-admin@mallorn.com]On Behalf Of Minifarms@aol.com
Sent: Saturday, February 04, 2006 4:42 PM
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Cc: dboekelheide@yahoo.com
Subject: [cg] no-till is a failure for some


I have studied no-till farming and farmers that are outside the USA much
more than in the USA because most of my teaching is abroad.  Farmers on
200,000,000 acres are no-till.  50% of the land in Argentina is  no-till
(small
farms).

I had a no-till garden for three years until the garden was closed  down.
The
whole area inside and outside the plots were covered in a perenial  weed
that
chemicals will not kill but almost none in mine.  Every weed  on our plot
could be pulled by hand in less than 30 minutes each  week.   They were so
weak a
3 year old could have pulled them up. A  cotton farmer here went no-till
four
years ago and does not use chemicals. Weeds  are not a problem. Stop
tilling,
you stop the weeds, he tells me.  True in  our garden, too.

I was on a farm in Malawi that has been no-till for 25 years.

When I wrote my document "Profitable Crop Farming" here are no. 1 and 2 on
the list:
1.      Open  mind.
2.      Willing to  make changes  [first, in the mind and second, in the
field &  pasture]
I have heard before all the arguments many times that are being made that
no-till does not work. In Nigeria I had 220 register farmers and 600  7-12
grade
students.  One said to me, "We do not farm that way here."   I told them "It
works."  If you do not want to garden and farm no-till,  that is fine with
me.
 Your yields are going down and the cost are  going up.  If you want to
continue farming that way, that is fine with  me.
For my part, no-till has been proven over and over and it is not a  matter
of
debate.  When a farmer tells me it failed, what I want to know is  how did
he
blow it.
Dripping Springs, AR, said his soil was getting hard to plant it. No
surprise!  He was taking out the OM without putting any back in.  It  is
still
occurring but the spader does not care as it is powerful enough to  still
dig.
Dr. Morrison proved over a 15 year period that a farmer can establish
permanent beds on his farm that are alternating 80" and 100" to accomadate
the
wheels of the tractor and harvesting equipment and increase the yeild
between  10%
and 15%.  No agrument and no debate. He closed his research on  them.  He
told me he got tired of proving something works and few farmers  using the
idea.
I do not blame him.
Therefore, I teach organic, no-till gardening and farming in permanent
beds.
Cuts cost, reduces labor and increases profits while preserving the soil
for
generations to come.
I wish that every gardener in America could see the video I have about  Ruth
Stout's gardening.
While the cotton farmers here are going over their land with all that
expensive equipment [$75,000 tractor]  in the air-conditioned cab,
cultivating and
cultivating and cultivating and spraying and spraying and  spraying and then
using a moldboard or whatever, the no-till farmer plants with  his $15,000
no-till planter and little tractor, goes fishing, reads in the shade  of a
tree,
etc and then harvests his cotton, plants the winter cover crop and  goes
south
to warm weather, visits the grandkids, wherever, etc. until  time to knock
down the wheat and plants the cotton again so he can fo  fishing again.
Have a great day while plowing or digging in the  garden,
Ken Hargesheimer


______________________________________________________
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out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org


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______________________________________________________
The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org


To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription:  https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden





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