Broad Micronutrients


Meadowlark

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.... You are not a gardener. You are a farmer. Between you and the average home gardener there is a world of difference.

Laughable, simply laughable. I sell nothing.

You may be right about the average home gardener...they are woefully misinformed on the merits of soil building and not surprisingly, ignorant of the methods to make it easy.

How do most prepare a seed bed? Do the same thing after a cover crop has been shredded by the lawn mower. No more, no less.


It is ridiculous to say building soil through cover cropping with no more extra than a lawn mower is unachievable. Utterly ridiculous!!! Completely unimaginative!
 
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Ok. I just want you two to send me your tomatoes and I will judge the product of this context. Heck I will even share them for purposes of concensus.
 

Meadowlark

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Send me your mailing address....and while I'm at it, I'll send along some other "samples".
 

Meadowlark

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.... What you espouse is a great idea but IMO not achievable. ...

Not achievable...a picture or two is worth a thousand words.

This shows the "before" of the before and after alfalfa cover crop mowing...with a lawn mower. Note on the left side is last years alfalfa and on the right this years.

before and after.JPG


Bring on the lawn mower...set it high if you want continued growth which I do or set it lowest to pulverize the soil and ready it for seed bed prep.

mowing alfalfa.JPG


In about 5 minutes or less an area 6 ft by 90 ft can be easily mowed....and in about two weeks, if you want more priceless mulch, can be mowed again...and so on.

after.JPG


Unachievable? Hardly.

Just for fun I'm going to do some planting pots "before and after" to show how easily this can be done in a container garden....building soil arguably the most efficient way I know of without need of any special equipment. Just a few seeds.
 
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What I want to see is you till under the growth you have mowed and prepare a seedbed without a tractor or plow or disc harrow. I will be more than happy to readjust my thinking when I see this.
 
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Meadowlark

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Your thinking is flat wrong...respectively...and you keep moving the goal posts to fit your negative narrative.

How do you prepare a seed bed? Can be the very same here. That fresh mowed area, if it was shredded short with the mower can then be prepared as any seed bed....actually easier then most. I would demonstrate but I'm not at all willing to sacrifice my alfalfa just to demonstrate something which you will then AGAIN move the goal posts on. Next spring, I'll make a seed bed there, run the soil tests again...and give the skeptics another shot at moving the goal posts, LOL. In the meantime, let's see your soil test results.

I haven't seen any arguments against the soil test results I presented...yet...only complaints that its '"too hard" which it isn't at all. 95% of home gardeners can do this easily with no special equipment needed...only an open mind.
 
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I did not move the goal post. I stated above that the roots systems of your cover crops are next to impossible to turn over with what a home gardener has. He might have a tiller but most do not and even a tiller will bind up after a few seconds. That leaves a shovel. If I had a tractor like you do I would do the exact same thing as you do and neither do the folks on this forum have a tractor. I have also stated in numerous posts that ground covers are great and probably the absolute best way to build soil. So, I want pictures of you, "accelerating" the soil without your disc harrow. I want to see how you manage to get through all those masses of roots. You can use any roto-tiller you like, even one of those big Troy Built Horses that they don't make anymore. If you can do it then I will be the first to admit I was wrong and I will do the same thing as I dislike buying soil amendments that aren't as good as successive ground covers.
 

Meadowlark

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Again...You are flat wrong...and goaded me into destroying part of a thriving cover crop.

I had my wife time it...less than 30 seconds of tilling with my old worn out small tiller and presto a seed bed worthy of any.

till 2.JPG


I can immediately plant this....and in fact I will immediately reseed my alfalfa cover just tilled.

till 1.JPG


The key to this is the lawn mower...set to the lowest you can and then till. I could have easily done the entire patch without stopping but I refuse to destroy a perfectly great cover just to demonstrate you are wrong...again.
 

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Meadowlark

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30 more seconds to rake and smooth and 30 more to reseed.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

bed 1.JPG
 
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I'll admit I was wrong about the root system of Alfalfa. I would plant it next week if it only grew in alkaline soils as my dad proved it wouldn't when he tried to grow hay. As I remember your main cover crop is peas or some type of legume where you don't mow it and let it go to seed for added nitrogen. I have tried peas many years ago where I just let the plants go until frost when I mowed it. My front tine tiller did not manage to cut the tap roots and the entire root system pulled up and fouled the tines. Perhaps my tiller wasn't up to the task. I see in your photos that the rest of your garden is made with rows where your crops are. How do you make them, with a side buster?
 
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Meadowlark

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Yes, I've used field (cow) peas extensively for cover/rotation summer crop... in spite of "experts" on this forum proclaiming that N2 fixing is an urban myth, soil tests prove otherwise, LOL. With the peas, you must shred closely first BEFORE ever tilling or you will have the problems you encountered.

However, I'm always looking for better...and this alfalfa experiment now about 14 months old is proving to me to have spectacular potential in all types of home gardening. Soil tests don't lie and I've seen spectacular results thus far. Very easy to prepare a seed bed after shredding.

One huge plus to alfalfa is it can also serve as a winter cover...all seasons. Survived 8 degrees here this winter. Seed is relatively cheap. The only downside I have seen is it isn't as good as peas at weed control...initially, but after a winter it chooks everything out, everything. Alfalfa is likely to become my "go to" cover/rotation/soil builder in the future.

For row crops, like corn, okra, etc. , I use a pair of middle busters to make raised rows that are easily cultivated and survive our floods. Its important to always rotate after a crop and that is where the cover crops shine.
 

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