I have to preface this post by saying that I do not advocate tilling of the soil. However if you are planting a root or tuber crop its a little hard to say don’t till. That being said, I do not till. I normally get out the Rogue Hoe and pull the soil back, plant and refill. I love my hoe and hoeing is a very zen activity for me. But it is pretty tough on the back and as they say – I ain’t gettin’ any younger.
So when I went out this last weekend to dig a few trenches for potatoes I was both looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time.
I knew where I wanted to plant. It was an area that was reputed to have tons of woodchips dumped on it. I knew the area vaguely. There were a lot of these strange small trees (I really have to ID them come spring) in it so I knew I’d have to chop some of them down as well. So I chopped one a few times and I saw the whole ground move – what the ???
I grabbed the mangled little tree and pulled and to my surprise the roots came up with it.
I pulled harder and more roots.
I kept pulling and more roots.
When I surveyed the result, pulling the roots out had essentially turned the soil and left a nice little trench for planting potatoes. IT’S SELF-TILLING SOIL (mostly)!
The thought occurred to me. If you were going to dump some compost on a garden bed for an upcoming planting but you didn’t want to hoe away or till when planting time came you could lay wires or durable strings parallel in the garden and when you were ready to plant simply pull them gently and steadily. The string would pull the dirt aside and leave perfect little furrows.
Really radically, you could try planting something that was shallow rooted and fast growing (I gotta find out what these trees are!) and pull it out come planting time. Ok, that might be a little extreme.
All I know is 15 minutes of work and I’m planting potatoes tomorrow!