No till gardening


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I consider the concept to be impracticable due to cost and the labor required. Just harvesting the material shown in the garden would take much labor. Labor is very expensive in all developed countries.

I am most interested in what is done with the products grown. Th internet is swamped with growth but always very little about use and or preservation.

Few farmers in my experience don't even plant a vegetable garden. They simply don' have the time and it is more economical to buy externally.

The setup in the video is expensive. Deep pockets are required. There is an internet permaculture forum that reeks of
incompetence. Basically digging a hole and growing some type of squash. Squash is most photogenic. There is a video floating around
which is touted and is simply nonsense. My observation is most growing schemes outside the proven norm verge on the ridiculous.
 

alp

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That's why it's raised beds, Dowding's garden is on heavy clay.
When you put a six-inch plus layer of light, friable material on top of clay, it drains well, the water disperses and evaporates, and this is deep enough for the root-zones of many plants.
Worms love it and aerate it, and after a couple of years of adding more mulch manually, will deepen the light soil by breaking into, and incorporating with it, some of the clay soil underneath.
Now, although clay soil is difficult to work, slow to breakdown, cold and wet, it does hold nutrients well, and its inculcation to the bed means that it's, to my mind, the BEST medium upon which to use this method.
My allotment is heavy clay, and my onion & garlic beds are fantastic.
I'd turn the whole lot over to no-dig if I could afford to.
I wish I were 20 years old! I would use this method. Even the lady presenter said that the comparison in The Beechgrove Garden was not fair as they had already dug the area purportedly no-dig YEARS before the experiment. It's difficult to get something for nothing. My grass lawn is still waterlogged as I have never dug it and I have been here 23 years. Lovely video and I really admire the aerial view. Fantastic! Thank you for the video!
 
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Meadowlark

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One of the mainstays of my garden soil building is cover crops. I use them 365/24/7. In winter, I rely on legumes to produce N2 , add nutrients, and prevent weeds and on elbon rye to prevent nematodes. In summer, I rely on cowpeas to add N2 and nutrients and weed prevention to soil. I would put my garden soil up against any in the world in terms of health and ease of work. Never use chemicals of any kind.

That healthy soil would be impossible without tilling. No till just does not make sense for me in the garden. I use my small tractor to easily do the work that would be back breaking in smaller raised bed situations and produce far more produce than we can eat, preserve, and give away.

No till is "no go" for me.
 
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I have usually had clay where I lived over the years. I lay in city compost until the soil is perfect. In about 15 years I have mixed about 100 yards about 10 to 15 each year. I have good drainage via plastic pipe in a few trenches. I like clay because when drained it has all the nutrients. I lay on the wood chip mulch after the garden is planted to retain moisture. I get a ten yard load and wheelbarrow it into the garden and work it under in the Fall or early Spring. I do not use cover crop since my season is too short in Zone 5. I pail water using downspout water when available from three 45 gallon drums. I plant my produce close in rows, and space the plants in the row. This means the row spacing is essentially shaded somewhat., with an overhead canopy. Weeding is continuous when the weeds are small but is not onerous in my about 2000 square feet. I use most in my garden and always have more than enough by mostly pressuring canning a slurry or drinkable juice. I consider no till a impractical endeavor.
 
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I consider the concept to be impracticable due to cost and the labor required. Just harvesting the material shown in the garden would take much labor. Labor is very expensive in all developed countries.

I am most interested in what is done with the products grown. Th internet is swamped with growth but always very little about use and or preservation.

Few farmers in my experience don't even plant a vegetable garden. They simply don' have the time and it is more economical to buy externally.

The setup in the video is expensive. Deep pockets are required. There is an internet permaculture forum that reeks of
incompetence. Basically digging a hole and growing some type of squash. Squash is most photogenic. There is a video floating around
which is touted and is simply nonsense. My observation is most growing schemes outside the proven norm verge on the ridiculous.
As far as I know, he is, what we in the UK call, a market-gardener.
I think he also has a restaurant attached.
After initial set-up costs, it would cost less than your wood-chip mulch, and the point he makes in one of his videos, is that the mulch used can vary according to what's suitable and available for your area, and that he uses composted cattle manure, home made compost and spent mushroom compost, because he's on heavy clay, & the damp climate makes slugs a problem.
As I've said, your use of woodchip mulch seems to me, very similar, at least philosophically.
He
 

Meadowlark

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....I am most interested in what is done with the products grown. Th internet is swamped with growth but always very little about use and or preservation.

Few farmers in my experience don't even plant a vegetable garden. They simply don' have the time and it is more economical to buy externally.
We can a lot of our excess veggies...tomatoes, potatoes, beets, green bean, carrots, etc. etc. Our canning skills still aren't anywhere near what my grandparents and their generation had developed...and you are right very little is out there about practical preservation.

To me vegetable gardening is not about economics, its about great taste and healthy eating. If you want to experience both of those, you pretty much have to grow it yourself. The taste is incomparable no question about it and I know for certain that my food has never been exposed to harmful chemicals. That is priceless!!
 
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My mulch comes from a local supplier at 5 dollars a yard and unlimited amounts. It has been composted more than a year probably closer to two. I often get a ten yard load or for small amounts I take a half yard in my van box. Another thing I have observed is bare ground. I consider bare ground showing in a garden to be dead space, hence I close space plants or use mulch. I find mulch has to be too thick to discourage weeds but for moisture retention it is ideal. I tried straw for mulch but found it mats and now never use it. But in general i find mulch to be a godsend. I don't have much confidence in it supplying many nutrients.
 
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We can a lot of our excess veggies...tomatoes, potatoes, beets, green bean, carrots, etc. etc. Our canning skills still aren't anywhere near what my grandparents and their generation had developed...and you are right very little is out there about practical preservation.

To me vegetable gardening is not about economics, its about great taste and healthy eating. If you want to experience both of those, you pretty much have to grow it yourself. The taste is incomparable no question about it and I know for certain that my food has never been exposed to harmful chemicals. That is priceless!!
Several years ago I got concerned about preserving. I read much and experimented. I knew a bit about pressure canning and used it periodically. The internet writing about pressure canning are poorly done. The main concern was the heat 240F getting to the bulk material in a jar, a real concern.. A temperature of 240 must be reached for a few minutes to destroy all bacteria. This is difficult to achieve if the jar material is chunky. So I decided to make a homogeneous slurry of the jar contents, the idea being all contents would reach 240F. I chose 15 PSI for 15 minutes and ran a year of tests. I never had a spoiled jar for around 500 liters, and all the jar contents were such that they could be ingested by drinking. Now I can around 400 jars a year for all vegetable products. All slurry. I don't do animal products.

Further there are good tools available. Pressure canner, I have a 23 quart seven liter jars per batch, perfect hand stick blender, good hand 2mm strainers, propane outdoor burners, double boiler. These simplify the process and it is much easier than in the past.

I use some of the other methods like freezing, dehydrating, root cellar, fermenting, but rarely. I use grains and dried beans and lentils purchased in bulk. Fermented soy beans are a significant part o my diet in the form of tempeh.

I have studied the super market products and found them wanting in many aspects. Many are pure garbage.
 

Meadowlark

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2,200 quarts...now that's canning.

I've regretted so many times that I didn't learn canning from my Grandmother and Mother. My Grandmother raised 17 children on a farm and canned everything for winter survival. The knowledge they had was priceless!
 
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Canning using pressure canning has simplified the process considerably. The quantity they had to process constituted much effort. Most impressive.
 
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The Good O' Days, they were... just plain hard work. We don't do that now because we would have to do it in place of doing something else. So, what would you give up doing so you could could do some canning? Reading? Watching TV?, sleep, visiting with your friends, traveling? Remember, you can't replace your regular job with canning. You work all the hours you do because your boss would replace you with someone dependable if you took off too much time. I make two or three jars of Kumquat marmalade once a year, and that's as much as I need to remind me of Grannie's late summer and autumn.

Usually, the people who remember the past fondly have a different perspective. Remembering the way the whole house smelled when Grannie was canning peaches verses Grannie cleaning up the kitchen with sweat on her brow, her legs killing her, and stains on her apron. She was holding the other end of the stick.
 
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I grew up canning with my great-grandmother, grandmother, and mom every year until I was about 12. I remember going to the local stone fruit farm and buying culled stone fruits for pennies on the dollar, peeling and cutting out the bad spots and canning forever on a weekend. We didn't use pressure canners but we could do 7 Mason jars the large quart ones per round with several pots going at once. We almost couldn't peel and cut as fast as they could load, can and set out. Once the lids sucked in and didn't click we were good to go. I never helped on jelly or jam days though. My mom still knows how to do all that stuff and more.
 
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As a kid I helped my mom can. We did everything from green beans to peaches. My dad had friends who were farmers so we got the produce cheaply. As an adult I have canned some, but mostly freeze the produce - but I still have my canning pot and rack! As time consuming as it was to do, there is nothing quite as good as homemade peach preserves or raspberry jam.
 
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I took a look at the site I planned to use and my compost heap. I decided to just dig it out instead of doing the no till, only because I realized I would have to buy soil and more compost to fill a raised bed. That defeats the purpose of saving money by growing my own food. I worked my compost into the dug bed instead. I really rather use this method instead of building boxes to grow in. Started small - 4 by 15 and will decide next year if I will enlarge the spot. I think with all the other yard work I need to do to catch up since I retired this will be plenty.
 
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Yesterday I set fire to a bunch of branches and blackberry thorns and used my blower to get it really hot and blackened, and then I quenched it. Both the ashes and the charcoal are great for my naturally lower pH soil. Just checking, I put my pH meter in a bag of potting soil, and it measured roughly 6.7. I would think adding things to store bought raised bed soil might cause the pH to jump around. I guess at the end of a successful garden, you will have developed a system that not only works in that area, but also works for you.
 

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