Monday, June 1, 2009

Jus' Tillin'

Here's my gardening theory about tilling versus hoeing: I think if ya have a huge space go ahead and till it the very first time, and then maintain with a ho from then on. If ya' pay the ho enough, she'll probably even use your gardening tool and keep the weeds down for ya. ;)
Just teasing. I am pretty sure that my theory is backed up by those studying organic agriculture- who also suggest various cover crops to keep the soil healthy. My style of gardening is usually companion planting in order to keep the soil from being drained of nutrients while stuff is growing - just like in nature certain plants work together really well.
The rain has been boggling us here in Western North Carolina and tilling was put off the very day it could be put off no longer, the one magical sunny weekend! We tilled into the black of night, which is kind of a hysterical thing to do. Bort wore a head lamp like a miner and I ran around in the dark grabbing big rocks and throwing them out of the way, screaming into the loud noise of the tiller "watch out for those spiders, they aren't running fast enough!"... the tiller is not only loud but it also stinks like a freakin' go-cart track at a shitty school fair. By the time it was all over I felt like I had just given a pint of blood and was happy to think about all the beans, squash and potatoes I am gonna grow.


1 comment:

Susie Collins said...

Your plot looks fabulous! It would have taken you forever to till that by hand, so using the tiller was smart. You can build up the top soil again by cover crops and composting. The trick for me is to lay down some sort of cover right after you clear a big piece like that to suppress the weeds. Otherwise in a month you have a plot full of weeds and have to go in again and hoe the whole bloody thing anyway. We use straw or banana leaves for cover and then plant the starts right through that layer.

We often work in the gardens past dark. It's cool and we have the time. We knew a farmer on Kauai who tended his crops all night using a headlamp, too!

We do most everything by hand, but use machinery for some projects, too. We just used a rented trencher for the water lines going up to our new vegetable garden, and a fuser for the pipes. I couldn't be anywhere near the fuser machine even when it was turned off, that's some nasty melted stuff!