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Preparing garden site, no till-seeding, & sourcing seeds

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Hello Permies community,

I have 18 acres which I eventually hope to have a wonderful permaculture orchard, various animals, and a dream house on one day, but for now I'm trying to get about a 1/2 acre garden going.  Currently the area has lots of "wild"grass and weeds that grow on it, I had been mowing it last spring/summer/fall and basically doing a chop and drop.  I did not come across the no till philosophy until last week and have already used a rototiller on about 1/3 of the garden area.  What kind of soil prep is recommended for both the no till area and the tilled area, currently there is 2ft of snow over everything.  I don't have access to wood, (only 3 trees on the property at the moment) so I'm ruling the huglekulter out for the time being.

My budget is limited for this garden project.  I am already planning on getting some rebar to drive into the ground and using PVC pipe to create low hoop houses to serve as both season extending (climate 6a) and to keep the deer off during the night.

Finally where do you recommend I get seeds as buying tons of packets from the big box store does not seem economical.

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Location: Illinois USA - USDA Zone 5b
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Welcome to Permies!

If you can get your hands on old hay or straw, you can create a no till garden with that. Read up on Ruth Stout - deep mulch gardening, and also lasagna gardening (layering mulch, including paper). Personally I am not a big fan of paper and cardboard, as there are nasty chemicals involved in the production of paper products.

As to large scale seed sources, try Fedco https://fedcoseeds.com/

Or, try Jung’s https://www.jungseed.com/.

I have had good luck with both suppliers.

I have a couple small words of caution. The first year of gardening is going to be one of soil building, normally. It takes awhile to go from sod to productive garden. Also, starting with 1/2 acre is pretty ambitious unless you have significant gardening experience.

Best wishes. Keep us posted!
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Location: Vancouver Canada zone 8b
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Just read Gabe Brown’s book ‘Dirt to soil’ which is a great read. He recommends cover crops first before trying for vegetables when breaking in new ground from old pasture. Apparently you need to get the soil in better shape for at least a season before you get too ambitious. Multiple cover crop species rather than monoculture and you will build a foundation for success. I know how tempting it would be to get some tangible yield your first year but vegetables on the whole are demanding of fertile soils and you are not there yet. Good luck. Use inoculated legumes and a mix of oats and vetch and buckwheat and the like to get a mix of carbon and nitrogen fixers and maybe end the season with tillage radish to scavenge the nitrogen you would otherwise lose over the subsequent winter. Cover crop seed in bulk is a good deal.
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