No-till planting : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Could someone explain very simply what no-till planting is? Why would anyone want to and is there a good side to it? Thanks

-- Cindy (, June 07, 2000


Cindy, look in your library for 'Ruth Stout's' books. She is the American pioneer on the subject. Basicly what it is, is covering your soil with straw, and never removing it. A permanant mulching system. Why would anyone want to? Well, it means no digging, and someone with back problems or just plain too much to do would really appreciate that. After all, most of us mulch anyway to get the benifits of that. Little watering, little to no weeds, etc. I plan to switch to this system once I get the land I have recovered. 40 years of commercial style gardening had reduced the area to almost solid clay. That means I have to till just to get the soil back to soil. So far, so good. I've managed to get to the point where a few raised beds will be switched over soon, maybe next season. Check it out, it might suit you. annette

-- annette (, June 07, 2000.

Cindy, are you asking about gardening or farming? If farming, no-till means little or no plowing and cultivation. Weeds are fought back with herbicides instead. Advantages, saves fuel, saves moisture, reduces erosion. Disadvantages, lots of spray, and gm seeds. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (, June 07, 2000.

I guess I was asking about both, since there is a both. I heard part of a conversation on no-tilling and it didn't make sense. Now I see why. I like the no-till planting idea, I have heard of that before but not with a name. I'll have to check out the Ruth Stout book. Don't you lose something by not tilling the weeds etc. back into the ground (like nutrients)? Guess that's why they add the chemical fertilizers.

-- Cindy (, June 07, 2000.

my neighbor did a no till planting of red clover and oats on my small hay field this year - had plenty of rain but the field has not done anything!!!! it's been about 6 wks and can't see any benefits- he did his field the same way he used some type of disk and then it dropped the seeds behind that as he went

-- Pat (, June 07, 2000.

No till also means using cover crops to till the soil[example, scratch buckwheat seed into area to be planted in spring three or four weeks latter knock down buckwheat and plant garden].Cover crops have deep roots which open the soil as they decompose.Had a discusion about till no till 15 years ago with my college teacher [ he was for no till, i was against]Been using no till on my beds last 2 years, Dave cox if your out there you were right!

-- kathy h (, June 07, 2000.

Potential confusion here between two different terms - no-till farming, and no-dig gardening.

Gerbil is, as usual, just about spot-on with the desription of no- till farming (except it doesn't HAVE to involve genetically modified seeds). If you've seen bad wind-erosion and dust-storms, you'll appreciate its good points. Giving weeds a chance to learn resistance to herbicides isn't one of them. Pros and cons, balances, choices - same as everything.

Annette described no-dig gardening - lay down a reasonably weed-proof biodegradable mat (some people use old wool carpet, some use layers of newspapers), cover with lots of hay (or straw plus nitrogenous material), let it rot down, plant in it. Limits the weeds and diseases, definitely limits the digging. Annette, I've heard of people doing this over clay, and the earthworms in the beds work down into the clay, open it up, and incorporate the organic material. Worth a trial?

-- Don Armstrong (, June 09, 2000.

Annette, I would agree with Don, that if you mulch your soil heavily, the earthworms will fix your soil for you in only a year or so. Worth a try if you can get large quantities of mulch -- and keep it from blowing off your garden! My husband dumped a couple of feet of leaves on one area of our garden one year. That part was still in sod, and we hadn't been able to till the sodded parts until we got someone in with a tractor to plow first. So he was just putting the excess leaves there to hold until he needed them. But a year later, the sod was gone, and you could stick your hand several inches into the soil. There were worms all over the place!

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, June 10, 2000.

Get the book Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanza. Its a no till garden.

-- John Maughan (, June 12, 2000.

No till planting is just what it means. By using no till method you don't have to work the ground, burn extra fuel, extra waer on equipment, extra man hours, little to no eroision, and most people claim that they are getting a better yield from their fields that are no tilled.

-- paul (, May 05, 2001.

we no-till our pastures and hay fields, as there was nothing but weeds and fescue in them. Rented a seeder from southern states and also from a private person, bought seed from farm supply store. oats is just a nurse crop mostly unless you are going to harvest it. We planted orchard grass, clover and timothy. A good mixture for hay and pasture. oats should be up in about 10 days, your clover will not do much till next year. of course, hope there isn't a drought,that is what is here as of this date.

-- lexi Green (, May 06, 2001.

lost my train of thought, the good part is it keeps the top soil from blowing away, saves fuel,and time .with the right equipment goes real fast. this way you can keep the ground cover to hold moisture while your seed takes hold. the seeder has compartments in back that you add your seed and fertilizer, adjustable, for different size seed. we don't herbicide the ground and our fields done good. the farm bureau says to do this to keep other plants from competing with your seed.

-- lexi Green (, May 06, 2001.

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