Q&A

DEAR NEW FARM:

I have 1/4 acre of never farmed land which has been chisel plowed and disked (by the farmer I'm renting the land from). This will be my first year market gardening. The Precision Seeder I was hoping to use for direct seeding is having trouble with clumps of sod etc. Same thing with the Glaser wheel hoe. I know that professional market gardeners use this combination to successfully produce their crop. I want to use cover crops for weed control management as Ann and Eric Nordell do. If the seeder and wheel hoe are having trouble with sod clumps how will I be able to "plow down" the cover crops? I do not have a tractor or horses. Seeding 1/4 acre by hand is very labor intensive as I have no help to cut the time factor. Thank you in advance.

Julie Barrett
Pennsylvania

 

DEAR JULIE:

You bring up a very good question, one which I'm sure a lot of farmers with small land areas need to deal with. A chisel plow, which was used on your land, is designed to leave at least 20% of the residue from previous crops on the surface. While this practice makes sense for farms that can use chemicals for weed management or large equipment to plant seeds it sure isn't the best for hand tools or small seeded vegetable crops as you are finding out. You'll need to work your ground harder than say a corn or soybean grower would. For that you'll need to either mold-board plow the land, then have it disked and harrowed to create a finer seed bed or have the land chiseled or coursely tilled then use a rototiller or small rotovator, either a walk behind or something that will fit onto a garden tractor to create the fine seed bed you are loooking for. I hope this helps. There are many manufactures of small scale tillage equipment, so happy shopping.

NF

 

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