Dreaming of a fine tilth!

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banf77

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Dreaming of a fine tilth!
« on: February 19, 2014, 21:55 »
Hi,

Last autumn there didn't seem to be much chance of me being able to get hold of any manure to spread on my allotment, so instead I lay a load of dead leaves the council dumps at the allotment. Then in December, a very kind person gave me a lift to a stables, and I got a carload full of manure, which I spread as well.
Since then, I've also got quite a bit of seaweed, which I've also spread.
So as you can imagine, I've got a lot of stuff sitting on top of the earth. It shows absolutely no sign of breaking down, so I can't imagine how I'm going to get a "fine tilth" in time for planting seeds in a few months.
Any comments/ideas?

Cheers
Steve

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barley

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Re: Dreaming of a fine tilth!
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2014, 22:00 »
do you use a rotavator ?

they really do dig the soil well , but you need the soil to be reasonably dry - no chance of that at the moment LOL

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m1ckz

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Re: Dreaming of a fine tilth!
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2014, 07:28 »
WELL WHAT IVE BEEN DOING IS..spread muck in autum.hand dig it in...spread another layer of muck//then in spring as early as poss rotovate that in...then just befor i plant i run over it with the mantis tiller    very fine  ..

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al78

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Re: Dreaming of a fine tilth!
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2014, 08:16 »
It does make me wonder what the no-dig gardeners do when they want to sow things like carrots direct outdoors.

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banf77

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Re: Dreaming of a fine tilth!
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2014, 08:20 »
Thanks for your replies.
No, I don't have a rotavator I'm afraid.
Should I just try to dig all the extra toppings in?

Cheers
Steve

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3759allen

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Re: Dreaming of a fine tilth!
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2014, 08:45 »
i've had this problem on a border that i want to try mushrooms on. i think the problem is that the thin layers of mulch/ manure doesn't hold enough contant heat or moisture to get it to break down quick enough so it sits there.

if the leaf was un chopped and the manure fresh it might be worth cutting your loses this year and take it off and putting into a pile to rot down nicely to black gold. then spread as a mulch in the autumn to give it time to work in.

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surbie100

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Re: Dreaming of a fine tilth!
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2014, 10:45 »
I don't have a rotavator either. I dig it in in late Spring, whenever that happens, and have at the top few inches with a rake till it's as tilth-like as my eyes would like.

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snowdrops

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Re: Dreaming of a fine tilth!
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2014, 10:48 »
It does make me wonder what the no-dig gardeners do when they want to sow things like carrots direct outdoors.

I think they just clear a drill & mound the mulch at the sides to earth up when good growth happens. I'll have a look in my no dig book later.
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Goosegirl

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Re: Dreaming of a fine tilth!
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2014, 12:09 »
It does make me wonder what the no-dig gardeners do when they want to sow things like carrots direct outdoors.

I think they just clear a drill & mound the mulch at the sides to earth up when good growth happens. I'll have a look in my no dig book later.
This was my first thought. All that lovely stuff should really help your soil structure, so just shove it aside when you make your rows for sowing as the worms should help you out when it gets warmer.
Spring always comes when we sow the seeds of life.

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moose

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Re: Dreaming of a fine tilth!
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2014, 12:28 »
It does make me wonder what the no-dig gardeners do when they want to sow things like carrots direct outdoors.

Charles Dowding a no dig guru puts a 2" or so layer of farmyard manure on his beds in the autumn and in spring sows carrots directly into it with no apparent problems.

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allotmentann

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Re: Dreaming of a fine tilth!
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2014, 13:26 »
I don't worry about a fine tilth at all, most things seem to grow just fine without it. I guess if you want super straight carrots it might be worth it.   :)

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8doubles

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Re: Dreaming of a fine tilth!
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2014, 14:59 »
I've had some strange dreams in my time .............but never that one ! :)

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Trillium

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Re: Dreaming of a fine tilth!
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2014, 20:00 »
I use the no dig approach now. The layers of muck and other amendments will keep the lower level soft, and whatever is sown in the top will have an easier time to penetrate the soil. Nutrients from the muck and whatever also leach down to the lower areas and roots happily chase them. I've done this 2 years in a row and am happy with the results as I had very hard clay.

The key with no dig is that each fall you must top up with whatever you can find or have. Items like leaves are better if shredded up first, perhaps through a lawnmower which does an excellent job, especially if you have a bagger attachment. Or, find sources of chopped greens through tree maintenance people, etc.

If you're in a very dry area like I am, it also helps to keep the top mulched with a thick layer of wood chippings, etc. Overall moisture (not sogginess) is the key.

If I do come across large rocks, I will dig them out.



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