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No tillage gardening

 
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Hello,
So historically I've been able to avoid zero tillage in my personal garden, but am expanding to a 2 acre market garden, at this scale is it still feasible? Thanks for any additional input
 
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At only 2 acres you might look at
Manual Crimper-Roller (http://www.earthtoolsbcs.com/html/bcs_implements.html)

You will likely need a manual tool for planting into the mat produced.

I created a little blog on high calorie gardening I am working on this fall and winter.
The subject of seed sowing tool and transplanting tool were of interest to me so I did some research and blogged about it.
I think this may help you since you will have to use things like that to plant through the mat made by the roller.

http://highcaloriegardening.blogspot.com/2014/09/single-seed-jab-planters-for-planting.html

http://highcaloriegardening.blogspot.com/2014/09/manual-transplanting-tools-part-one-of.html
http://highcaloriegardening.blogspot.com/2014/09/manual-transplanting-tools-part-2-of-2.html

You may also want to look at small seed drills and trans-planters that can be used on a small tractor.
Unfortunately, as you get into power tools things get expensive.

This is why I stick with hand tools and use tarps, cover, cover crops, etc.

 
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Charles is market no dig gardener. I think on one acre.
Home page http://www.charlesdowding.co.uk/ to see quick review of his garden in picture.

For detailed answers from him http://www.charlesdowding.co.uk/forum
 
pollinator
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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HATC3rG6NbQ#t=15[/youtube]
 
pollinator
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Jean-Martin of http://themarketgardener.com is another great source.
 
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I think it is feasible and we're working on it. Granted 2 acres is HUGE to do no till. I think you'll need employees, especially during the start up. But, why 2 acres? We grow on 1/2 acre no till and should gross $40-45k this year with operating/capital costs around $10000. I think at 2 acres there's the potential to raise your operating costs significantly. Jean Martin has about %50 operating costs according to his book and I think a lot of that is driven up by his scale. To gain the "efficiency" necessary to manage 2 acres of no-till veggies at some point I don't think its worth the money.

So, in my opinion... Feasible, yes. But I'd think more on the 1/2-1 acres scale and limit your costs.
 
Alan Wright
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I think it is feasible and we're working on it. Granted 2 acres is HUGE to do no till. I think you'll need employees, especially during the start up. But, why 2 acres? We grow on 1/2 acre no till and should gross $40-45k this year with operating/capital costs around $10000. I think at 2 acres there's the potential to raise your operating costs significantly. Jean Martin has about %50 operating costs according to his book and I think a lot of that is driven up by his scale. To gain the "efficiency" necessary to manage 2 acres of no-till veggies at some point I don't think its worth the money.

So, in my opinion... Feasible, yes. But I'd think more on the 1/2-1 acres scale and limit your costs.
 
Matthew Sargent
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Thank you for all the great feedback I appreciate it.
 
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I'm confused here with people thinking 2 acres is huge to do no till on.
I know farmers that no-till 1000 acres and more.
True they have the big tractors and no-till seed drills for their operations but to say 2 acres is a huge no till seems a real stretch to me.

To no-till large acreages you will need a tractor with a no-till seed drill. for 2 acres you can do this with a small compact or probably even use horses or mules or oxen.
I've even noticed they make a no-till drill for the hand pushed equipment now.
 
R Scott
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Alan Wright wrote:I think it is feasible and we're working on it. Granted 2 acres is HUGE to do no till. I think you'll need employees, especially during the start up. But, why 2 acres? We grow on 1/2 acre no till and should gross $40-45k this year with operating/capital costs around $10000. I think at 2 acres there's the potential to raise your operating costs significantly. Jean Martin has about %50 operating costs according to his book and I think a lot of that is driven up by his scale. To gain the "efficiency" necessary to manage 2 acres of no-till veggies at some point I don't think its worth the money.

So, in my opinion... Feasible, yes. But I'd think more on the 1/2-1 acres scale and limit your costs.



I think Jean Martin said his large expense is transport to market. He drives an efficient diesel truck, but lives an hour from the market. There's definitely a cost to go to market, you could take a smaller car and reduce fuel but not time. Travel time is the killer, it is not productive.
 
steward
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Alan Wright wrote:We grow on 1/2 acre no till and should gross $40-45k this year



What kind of crops net those kinds of returns?
 
R Scott
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Salad greens are so fast growing you get a lot of production from a bed over the course of the season.

But that gross number can go +/- 50% depending on your market. I couldn't get half that here.
 
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I plan to do no-till on a larger scale, eventually 7-10 acres without a tractor. I have a couple acres that I won't till this year, it's all about cover crop management and mulches. For instance, around here oats die in the winter and I did try a couple rows last fall, it worked very well! I didnt seed it thick enough though... next year I am going to seed oats a lot thicker and on many more rows as I harvest because I really liked how it became a straw like mulch.
 
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