May 2013

For our SARE funded experiment we are comparing two tilled beds with two no-tilled beds when direct seeding vegetables. This season, we are growing carrots.

tillingThe rototiller goes down at least 6 inches into the soil. When using our no-till methods for direct seeding we only disturb the top two inches at the most.

garytillingDirect seeding requires very neat rows, to make early weeding easier. We usually use string to mark the rows, but as we are constantly trying to find ways to be more efficient we came up with a new idea….

rowmarkingtoolThe Long Rake Row Marker (prototype)! This long rake is exactly the width of our beds and we added special extensions (metal tubes banged in with a hammer)…

rows marked Now all we have to do is drag it across once and four lovely lines appear – perfect for popping in carrot seeds.

tranplanting kaleNo-till transplanting is even less work. We are scything down the cover crop and making small holes for our transplants such as kale, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower…

pac choi transplants Here are some pac choi transplants with the crimson clover and vetch growing back in between. All this coverage keeps the soil healthy and troublesome weeds at bay.

garyscytheElsewhere cover crops are needing to be mowed by Gary… The rye in the paths…

covercrop biomass … and the vetches and clovers give us a huge amount of biomass for composting.

salad greensMeanwhile our succulent salad greens are being enjoyed all over the island…

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