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Tilling the garden

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by busy backyard on May 23, 2005 10:21 PM
I was fortunate to move into a house with a well established garden. It's soil is high quality, BUT is also very high in clay content.
I have heard the negatives of tilling, but my space is too large to consider not doing.

++++My Problem? If I till when the soil moisture isn't right, I end up with 1"+ balls of clay. As they dry they are like concrete. Obviously, this situation doesn't lend itself to planting seeds very easily. Does anyone know how to reverse this situation once it happens? I end up raking over and over all summer.
ps: If soil moisture is correct, the soil is like silk and is a perfect planting medium
Thanks for any tips you may have!

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Busy Backyard
by Longy on May 23, 2005 10:38 PM
Adding gypsum will help ammend a clay soil. Also using lots of compost and other organic matter will help. None of these is a quick fix though. It'll take a season to start to have effect.
by tkhooper on May 23, 2005 10:49 PM
Yep gypsum will make the clay behave. Adding sand will also help, JV gave me that suggestion and of course sand found along a stream is a lot cheaper than the gypsum.
by Longy on May 25, 2005 01:08 PM
sand found along a stream is a lot cheaper than the gypsum.
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unless you count environmental impact as an expense;)
by weezie13 on June 28, 2005 11:54 AM
Picture of a Broadfork

I have read the same things about rototilling.
It does alot of damage to the top layer of the soil....
and ruins the worm structions that are weaved all
thru the dirt...
and makes the dirt too fine and then thickens
up like clay..*compacted*

Not sure how big and area you have..
But this looks interesting...

A gardener by the name of Eliot Coleman use's one..
and he's a top of the line gardener..
That does alot of gardening in Vermont I think,
all thru the winter even...

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by obywan59 on June 29, 2005 09:29 AM
I bought one of those broadforks once. It's a great tool, but does give you a good work out. I used it for a while till one of the tines broke.

You're right, Weezie. Eliot Coleman uses cold frames, row tunnels and movable greenhouses to garden year round. He used to live in Vermont, but I believe he now lives in Maine.

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Terry

May the force be with you
by weezie13 on June 29, 2005 12:38 PM
I knew it was up there somewhere's...

But he really is an advocate of that tool..
For getting deep into the soil for aeration
and for water to get down into it....
But it doesn't break up existing worm tunnels,
that deliver nutrients and more finer aeration
to the soil...

I just wish they weren't so expensive...
YIKES...

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by 4Ruddy on June 30, 2005 08:27 PM
Weezie...that thing looks scary!

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Happiness, like a dessert so sweet.
May life give you more than you can ever eat...
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by Flowers4ever on June 30, 2005 09:40 PM
My husband has a big tiller and I have a Mantis which I love!!!

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