Saturday, February 13, 2010

First Plow

I was FINALLY able to use our brand new tiller!!! RNH kept telling me, "No no no, the soil is way too wet. You're not going to be able to do it." Well, I'm stubborn and I didn't listen. And I'm glad that I didn't!

I set the tiller on the "3" setting, which I'm assuming is 3 inches. I was pretty impressed with the amount of ground that the smallest setting tilled. The amount that the machine tilled up appeared to be about the depth that I tilled by hand the past two years. I can only imagine how great the soil is going to be when I till it at the deeper settings.
Our lovely clay soil (I'm being sarcastic!) was pretty wet, but I was able to scrape up and till the top layer without too much effort. Wait, it was actually VERY hard, but way less work than if I was tilling all of that area by hand. When the soil is dry, it will be very easy.

I wanted to till early because it has been two years since this area had been completely plowed. Two years ago my neighbor tilled it with his tractor. I swear, he made the soil as smooth as butter! But he started saying he would plow the land up around March. It wasn't until May that he actually did it. This is way too late here in NC to try and plant. I was disappointed and my garden was a complete disaster. The next year I plowed the land up by hand because I didn't feel like waiting around for him to do it. This year, time is in my hands once again, but the work load will be much lighter!
By plowing now and scraping off the top layer of grass and weeds, new grass will try to grow in its place when the weather warms. I will till it again before forming rows, killing the new grass that is trying to come up in its place. I forget what tilling like this is called, but it helps with weeding further into the growing season. At least that is what I read- I'm hoping it works out!

I didn't till the area last year's fall garden because the soil was just too wet. Plus I planted garlic (before mapping out my garden) this past fall. Now the garlic is in the way! My rows are no longer going to go east to west, but north to south. I read how growing this way will keep the crops from shadowing over each other, if its planned carefully. For example, corn should be grown in the NorthEastern part of the garden to keep from putting too much of a shadow on the other plants throughout the day!

I don't know what I'm going to do about the garlic. I might try to transplant it, but I'll have to read if this is possible. If the soil doesn't dry out, the moisture may cause the garlic bulbs to rot, so I may dig them up all together. We will have to wait and see!


  1. Interesting post. Last fall I planted things without thinking it through so I have the same problem you have with your garlic. I'm currently working on the plan for the ground we prepared last year for our production garden. I hope to have something logical as well as workable soon as I need to get peas in as soon as the soil dries out a bit!

  2. Leigh, I found out the HARD way that making a "garden map" is important! I'll keep you updated on whether or not my garlic makes it! I'm having the same problem with the wet soil though- I think I'm going to have to wait a while to transplant it...!