Archives for posts with tag: Tilth

My early trial plantings and sowing hasn’t done so well in this years April weather. I thought it might be warm early, but the cold and dry came back.

Now it’s supposed to rain and get warmer, so I’ll try again.

I thought the tilth would be bad this year because the turned dirt didn’t freeze very deep in the warm winter.

But the tilth is great, especially with a good tilling.

Now for some raised beds and potatoes, onions and carrots.

And for some rain and warmer weather.

It’s time to get all the rest of the potatoes dug up and into the root cellar.

It’s also a good time to start digging for winter and next spring.

There’s a lot left to dig (turn over) for the winter. 

And inspite of the snow, I’m still at it. 



I’ll probably be at it until Christmas or even after, if the weather stays conducive. 

However, if I have to leave one crop circle (next years pumpkin patch) undug, that’s allright too. After 10 years of working this heavy clay soil, it’s getting some very good tilth, and the rooty weeds seem to be pretty much under control – my main objectives with the digging – besides the great physical wookout. 

One crop circle has been tilled with the rototiller, and now I have started digging the next one. I’m turning the clay soil over a spade deep for the elements to work on over the winter. The digging is very easy now compared to the first couple of years, because the tilth is greatly improved due to the digging and the compost it gets.

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And much easier compared to the mud of last years rainy summer and fall. I can usually keep digging into december until the ground freezes solid, but they say it will be colder than usuall this winter. I may not get it all done, but as I say, the tilth is good now already.

Good enough! But I keep digging anyway, as a source of recreation, and it does improve the soil and help keep the weeds under control.

The first vegetable beds of this new growing season have been prepared and sown.

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The two raised beds in the center are reserved for flowers to be planted in later. The next four beds have onion sets with carrots, beets with celantro and dill, parsnips with spinich and swiss chard and then finally a bed of potatoes. The tilth was fantastic.

Now that the compost has been distributed to all the crop circles and tilled in, it’s time to start a new one. There is so much refuse to use.

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It rained a bit last night making the ground just right for tilling without raising a dust storm.

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It went so well, we did all but one of the garden circles today.

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This circle above will be the pumpkin patch this year.

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Last year’s pumpkin patch. This year it will have vegis and flowers.

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Also flowers and vegis. Next year pumpkins.

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The garlic planted last fall is already growing tall.

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Late sun to the west, thunder on the horizon to the south, a few more drops of rain. Tomorrow we’ll make some raised beds and sow the first seeds outdoors for this season.

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The pumpkin patch – a picture from yesterday.

The pumpkins and maize are all harvested and put away. The vines and stalks are all cleaned out and put on the compost except for the sunflowers which remain for the birds. Now the digging for winter gets going.

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We did have a powdering of snow last night and the ground is a bit frozen after several frosty nites and cold days, but it is still soft underneath and easy to dig. The boots and shovel don’t get caked in mud now either.

As I’ve said before, the digging is to turn over the clay soil, aerating it and exposing it to freezing which breaks down the structure of the clay making it more tillable. That is, the soil becomes easier to work with in the spring, has better drainage and is a better growing medium for the crops.

Next year this will be a vegetable patch and the pumpkin/maize/sunflower patch rotates to the next crop circle.

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Along with the microweeding comes the microcultivation.

When I get enough weeds out, I break up the surface of the ground between the plants with a small hand tool. This will disturb the tiny weeds and weed roots that are left and stimulate the crop roots. I can also push soil up around the bottom of the plants to help support them from the seemingly constant wind we have.

As I’ve said before, we have clay soil which tends to cake up after rain and harden and crack during a dry spell. Cultivating is very important for maintaining tilth and helping preserve the soil moisture.