Re: Tools for Small CSA's


Thanks for both posts this morning..  

I shuddered at the prospect of using a moldboard plow but knew no other
method of breaking sod (the ground had been in hay for many years) short
of an unaffordable $6,000 spading machine.  As for rice hulls on heavy
clay --a good solution, I'm sure, for a backyard garden--let's look at
the numbers:  three inches of hulls on an acre equals about 10,800 cubic
feet of the stuff...repeated and repeated again. 

At our CSA we're working 3 acres or so.  Thus we're talking something
like 100,000 cubic feet of rice hulls.  That's 370 10-yard dumptrucks
full.  Hmmmm...

Even an inch of compost on every square foot of growing space, as you
suggest, would amount to more than 400 cubic yards...that's more than I
have or could hope to have.

Seriously, I'd very much like to hear other suggestions for our heavy
clay.  Biodynamic practices are helping a lot to build humus in this
soil; for all the difficulties associated with moldboard plowing, the one
thing we did accomplish was turning in massive amounts of organic matter
from the roots of the established sod, and the BD preparations seem to
have utilized this very well for humus building.


On Sat, 26 Jul 1997 03:26:58 -0400 (EDT) BRateaver@aol.com writes:
>Mold board plow is the worst thing--.  The damage is not that the 
>size is made small or homogenous, but that the soil organisms are 
>moved out of the horizons in which they prefer to live.
>Interesting--Rodale press published a book by 4 writers, and one, the 
>PH.D., said it was bad to rototill and disturb the soil organisms, 
>while at
>the same time Rodale publishes Org Gard mag that always carries tiller 
>The best gardener I know uses raised beds on which he does NOTHING but 
>add an
>inch or so of fresh, finished compost, each time he replants the beds.
>Spectacular results.
,<Heavy clay. The one perfect, permanent way to deal with this is :
spread rice
hulls 3 inches thick, till them in, repeat, repeat, repeat.

That fluffs up the clay PERMANENTLY, since the hulls are 80% silicon and
very slow to decay.

Then you won't need to ever till again. Just spread fresh, finished
each time you plant.>>