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Creating fine seedbed after greenmanure

 
Ola Sivertsen
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Does anyone have experience with efficiently turning under a green manure crop and prepping fine seedbed using small machinery? And, no, moldboard plow/rototiller is not desired.
In general, what I want is no inversion of soil layers and no pulverizing of soil structure, ijust a shallow prep of the soil, just skimming of say no deeper than 5-10cm. Can a goosefoot plow with a selfpropelled "clodcrusher" do the trick? And will a towheel tractor get the job done(with wheelweights)?
For strongrooters (cabbage) I understand that a simple mowing followed by puncturing the sod where transplants go, but with carrots its another story....
And for smaller areas, will a "unbreakable broadfork" (google it) suffice, followed by for instance a dose of compost tea to speed up composting...?
Welding own equipment no problem..Any help greatly appreciated!
 
Tom Kozak
Posts: 88
Location: Sudbury ON, Canada
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Jean Martin Fortier in his book The Market Gardener suggests covering the sail with an opaque black silage tarp for a few weeks (or longer). This encourages microbial/worm work very well (if you have the time).
 
Tom Kozak
Posts: 88
Location: Sudbury ON, Canada
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Jean Martin Fortier in his book The Market Gardener suggests covering the sail with an opaque black silage tarp for a few weeks (or longer). This encourages microbial/worm work very well (if you have the time).
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 1992
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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I would recommend going No Till methodology. As Tom Kozak has mentioned, use an opaque black tarp or landscape cloth in conjunction with deep mulch to smother the green manure crop. You can lay these layers down and plant almost immediately if that is your need. It works best if allowed to smother the green manure crop for a few weeks prior to planting. For Carrots I would get the cover and mulch on, wait for a few weeks and check the progress at the corners and perhaps the middle by lifting those portions of the cover and mulch. When it met my needs, I would start my planting.

You didn't mention if you are starting your carrots and transplanting or if you plan on direct seeding. If you are transplanting, the lay the layers down and plant through the cloth method will work quite well, just pull the mulch back around each planting hole you make. If direct seeding, then you will need to wait till the covering has done its job.

I never disturb my soil if I can plant my crop(s) without having to do so. If I am going to disturb my soil, I go ahead and double dig then inoculate the prepared bed and let it come back to life before planting.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3306
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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It also depends on what the rest of your methods are. Flame weed? Mechanical planter? Which one? Soil type? How big is your garden? What cover crop?

Plastic tarp works wonderfully if you have time. Crimp roller works on some cover crops. Power Harrow works well if you can afford it. A scuffle hoe will do a small garden well enough.

 
Alex Ames
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Location: Georgia
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I recommend reviewing the YouTube video of Helen Atthowe. I believe
that spelling is close. When she was farming in Missoula she describes her
rationale and techniques in getting green mulches to work. She is a pretty
smart cookie.
 
Alan Wright
Posts: 8
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In line with what everyone else says, it really depends on your whole strategy and I also think largely on what the green manure crop is. Direct seeding into a bed that was just cover cropped is something we try to avoid. My first suggestion would be to only cover crop beds you will transplant into, IF YOU ARE ADVERSE TO SOIL DISTURBANCE. I think Jean Martin mentions something about a flail mower for his two wheel tractor being a good option but I've never done that.

We have really good luck of mowing/scything/weed-eating/pulling/killing the crop in some way, leaving it on the bed, covering the residue in 1/2" of compost and then burying under hay. After 1-2 weeks, depending on temperature and moisture, the worms have annihilated pretty much everything so we pull the hay, use it to mulch the adjoining pathway. Most times all the crop residue is completely gone and we've got a bed with 1/2" of worm castings. If we need to direct seed that bed we would rake it to get any remaining large organic matter out and if its not a good enough seed bed cover it with another 1/4"-1/2" of good compost and our little seeds germinate great! It prepares the bed while also building fertility.

Depending on your green manure crop this could work with a varied degree of success. If you've got something like rye, which in my experience has a very strong desire to live, maybe a tarp or soil disturbing method could be more effective at generating a fine seedbed quickly but if the crop will give up relatively easy than the method I've describe could could work well.
 
Michael Martin
Posts: 25
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I have found it difficult to seed carrots through standing mulch or cover crop.I used to turn my cover crop/previous crop residue under to get a good seedbed.That way I was able to seed immediately after harvest (this was in San Diego County. so 12 month growing season)Also avoided the use of plastic mulches, and the time out of production required for solarization.

There are some good videos and descriptions at the Earth Tools website:

http://www.earthtoolsbcs.com/html/bcs_implements.html
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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