Alison Thomas wrote:That's two years in a row now that we've got zip-all from our fields and my husband won't tolerate any further experiment.
How on earth does this system work right at the beginning?
leila hamaya wrote:i dont know anyone who does no till who uses herbicides, or any fertilizers, or insecticides....outside of an occasional soapy water spray or something simple like that. i have made teas of strong herbs as a simple insecticide, but no chemicals or anything like that.
i dont know, but i am guessing that no till people use very little on their gardens, no herbicide, insecticide or any of that kind of stuff.
i'm only just starting to really get into it, but IMO and other ferments/compost tea/fpj inputs also help a lot. you might think of these just as nutrients and substitution for fertilizer...but it actually also somehow works against compaction ...swells the soil from all the increased micro organisms activity.
i do something of a light quick tilling from time to time. there should be a better word for this, the quick stirring up of the soil and loosening it a bit. in spots digging one shovel width and then flipping the sod dirt clump upside down, that slows the grasses down a bit. then whatever mulch you have gathered for the top layers gets worked in a little and it all gets stirred up.
or even just quickly randomly poking at it here and there with the broad fork and getting a bit loosened here and there....doing that quickly and in just some spots here and there seems to help a lot, the ground likes to be lumpy and the plants like it to be loosened up now and again..
so i think no one should feel that they can never ever dig or use a broad fork, completely never till ever, every once in a while doing this stirs things up enough so that the plants really thrive. but thats my way. for the most part i am using a no till system, but theres occasionally something like tilling involved, or even digging trenches and then flipping the soil over on top of the "lasagna".... and breaking up the soil here or there. especially at the beginning. so i suppose i cant say i am doing no till, but this is what comes naturally to me and works for me.
George Meljon wrote:
I am only speaking of no till big ag type of projects when I say that most use herbicide to kill the cover crop. Garden farming is a different thing.
The use of cover crops has allowed us to integrate the cropping and livestock enterprises (think holistically). For example, following a winter triticale/hairy vetch crop we will plant a warm season cover crop cocktail of hybrid pearl millet, sorghum/sudangrass, soybeans, cowpeas, sunflowers, sunn hemp, along with radishes and turnips. This mix helps increase the organic matter content of our soils (approximately two-thirds of organic matter increase comes from roots). This cocktail is then grazed anytime between October and January. We have the flexibility to use it when we feel it will best benefit our situation. Our moderately, sized, easy fleshing cattle thrive on it. The cattle are healthier because they are getting plenty of exercise and are not locked in a corral. They are depositing dung and urine on the cropland where it will be consumed by macro and micro-organisms which, in turn will supply the nutrients needed for subsequent crops. We don’t have to haul manure out of corrals and onto the fields. It is a win-win-win situation and it is occurring in a profitable, sustainable way!
Cj Verde wrote:The USDA is pushing no till but most use herbicides with it to kill the cover crop so they can drill seed the next crop. You can do it without spraying, but like I said, it means killing the cover crop by rolling over it with heavy equipment.