Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Lucky you!!! If I had my choice of garden soil, I'd choose clay every time instead of sand. Clay holds onto nutrients and water making it a joy for agriculture as long as it isn't worked when it's too wet. What are you worried about destroying? Everything? The clay particles will still be there, the sand particles will still be there... Lots of organic matter will still be there... Roots go down 10 feet, 30 feet, etc... Anything you do is only a scratch on the surface. You can't remove all life from the soil regardless of what methods you apply. And even if you did, it would quickly be reseeded with microbes from the air, and from bird droppings, and from deep within the soil where your treatments don't reach. Insects, molds, fungi, bacteria, and animals are abundant in your area and will quickly colonize everything you touch, regardless of whether your touch is good or bad.
55 acres eh? What do the tops of the rhizomous plants look like? Are they something that could be shaded out by corn? Or squash? If not, I suppose that means either leaving it basically like it is, or using heavy equipment. Tilling rhizomes turns one big plant into twenty small plants. A strategy I've used successfully with some types of rhizomous plants is to till, and then wait till the plants are just starting to re-emerge and till again, wait and repeat, until the roots run out of energy. It doesn't work easily with every rhizomous species, but it works with many, and it's an excellent way to deplete the soil's seed bank. I guess that I'll catch flack for suggesting tilling, but it's a practice that has survived 10,000 years, I suppose because it works so well. And any cultivation you do is just a scratch on the surface regardless of how deep you go.
Sounds like you need heavier equipment... A 6 foot tiller attached to a 55 HP tractor will chop up corn plants, small trees and roots, any type of fibrous rhizomes.
Pigs love eating rhizomes... Perhaps run a sub-soiler through a field and then pasture pigs on it to dig up and eat the rhizomes.
Wow, breath of fresh air! You inspired me right off the bat, thanks for that...
Only thing is, is that it's not CLAY!!!
It's a sand bed, use to be a river bed, and is sand, sand, sand. The land that is, the land I described and hope to market garden and polyculture. But, those folks, the previous land holders, brought clay from a cliff about 500ft away and across a 100ft, rapid river.
Oh, I should also mention that certain portions along our side of the river is inhabited by raspberries, and lots of them (not productive though). Flanking them are conifers (pine and spruce) which is making progress to move and fill in the gaps. But can't really because the soil is so complex here. Acid and Alkaline loving and linking is really quite a treat here. Well, at least from an observational point of view. As another example I have maple (syrup trees - two types of maple and birch). It's quite an interesting piece of earth.
So, back to the question. Rhizomes. Would you mind sending me a pict or link to a 6' tiller, and a sub-soiler? Yep, wrapping my mind around the totality of it.
Bums up, for you! I'm mean thumbs...
ps: think i'll add a bit more to the local bio so that you don't have to guess what i do or not know
Mike Feddersen wrote:I don't envy your situation but maybe if you want to try a few things you can grow your land in stages. I was thinking that maybe composting big swaths of the stuff could be accomplished in pile of the stuff scraped from the ground, then spread out after the heat has destroyed the stuff.
Also if you plastic mulched in rows or areas with raised beds.
I found this Mother Earth on Weeds