Saturday, August 10, 2013

Tilling 2014 garden

I called an audible.

My plan for today was to continue working on the fence.  My plan is to "self fund" the project.  At work that meant robbing Peter to pay Paul.  I had identified fence posts to pull and redrive.  I am also cutting some posts out of the Sahara Forest.

One of the things I noticed when digging the holes for the fence posts is that the ground was drier than I expected. 

Looking at the radar, there is a Little Bo Peep storm cell sauntering across South Dakota.  Weather Underground claims there is a 60% chance of rain on Monday.

So I revised my plans to get my cover crop seeded ahead of the fencing.  I could see from the yellowing of the grass that the glyphosate had been absorbed and moved throughout the plants.
I left a 60 inch strip along the east edge (right side of picture) un-sprayed to better support traffic.  Picture from the southeast corner.
My goal is to be smart and let time be my ally.  I can work with time and life is easy or I can push against time, expend a great deal more effort and get to my endpoint a little bit sooner.  One of reasons for starting to work on my 2014 garden in August of 2013 is that I like the work-with model better.

Realistically speaking, the herbicide is doing 95% of the work of killing the grass.  All I need to do with tilling is to expose enough mineral soil so the cover crop can strike root and grow. In the past, 50% exposure has been plenty as long as it is evenly distributed.  So 50% is my goal.
Push mower set to lowest setting and sod is scalped.  My rototiller strongly dislikes long material that wants to wrap around the tines. You can see future fence posts scattered along right side of picture.
The first pass with the tiller is tough sledding.  Time for a water break.  This picture is from the northeast corner.

Done with the first pass.  I could probably stop here but I want to make a second pass from a different direction.  So I refilled my water bottles and drank a beer.
This is what the plot looks like after the second pass.  The second pass goes much faster.  I found a hose, some steel bars, some wire mesh.....

This is a close up of the ground after the second pass.  My foot is in the picture to give you a sense of how rough the seed bed is.  It looks like I met my goal of 50% of area having exposed mineral soil.

Total time elapsed, two and a half hours.

Time for another beer.

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