Row by Row Episode 69: No-Till vs. Tilling the Vegetable Garden Area

No-Till vs. Tilling the Vegetable Gardening

There are several different opinions when it comes to no-till or tilling the garden area. When discussing the difference between tilling and no-till, it all depends on your personal preference whether you want to do it in your garden or not. No-till gardening means no disturbance of the garden soil except for when you place the seeds in the garden. While tilling in the vegetable garden means you are preparing and cultivating the soil for planting with tools such as a tiller, the Double Wheel Hoe, or Hoss Stirrup Hoe.

Benefits vs. Downsides of No-Till Gardening

The first benefit of no-till is the overall moisture conservation. Since you are not cultivating the soil the soil layer is not broken which provides the garden area with the ability to hold water better. Another major benefit of no-till gardening is erosion control. During heavy rainfalls, the no-till allows for a decrease in losing soil layers. The third benefit is the preservation of soil biology in the vegetable garden. However, this can be more important in certain climates that have areas with richer organic matter in the soils. The last benefit of no-till gardening is no burying of weed seeds in the vegetable garden. When tilling in the garden weed seeds get cultivated into the soil, but with no-tilling, the weed seeds stay on top of the garden soil. Although, along with benefits comes a few downsides to no-tilling in the garden area. The first downside when it comes to a no-till garden is the increase in weed populations. Weed pressures like nutgrass can cause serious problems because they have to be frequently cultivated in order to eliminate them completely from growing in the garden area. Another probably with weeds in a no-till garden is the limited ways to handle and control them. The second downside is during rainfall it does not stick to the soil meaning the water does not absorb into the soil without cultivation. The next major downside is the decrease in good seed germination in the garden soil. In the garden, when the area has been tilled the soil can then provide better seed to soil contact which is needed for good germination. Along, with poor seed germination, no-till takes much more time and energy. This can be an issue caused by mulching because you have to remove it to replant and it can tie up nutrients in the soil. The last downside of no-tilling in the garden area is the reduction of soil compaction. For some crops in the garden like carrots, it can be harder for roots to penetrate in the soil.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment, the greenhouse is full of transplants for the fall garden. The guys taste test some cob jelly from a viewer. They also discuss a little bit about the varieties of onions that are coming very soon.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment this week, the guys answer questions about the spacing and fertilizer needs for tiger collards and all top turnips. As well as, whether or not they experience nitrate buildup in their garden soils. Travis mentions that the fertilizer requirements for both collards and turnips are similar which is one pound per a hundred feet pre-plant. With collard transplants, Travis spaces them one-foot apart and on double rows with drip irrigation in the middle. Greg mentions that in order to avoid having nitrate buildup in the soil, you should apply no more than what you need and place it directly where the plant needs it.

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