I breathed a sigh of relief this week when I finally got my crops planted. I was committed to doing it no-till (not turning the soil) because I wanted to avoid turning up weed seed that would sprout, wanted to leave the soil microorganisms undisturbed, and wanted to save all the fuel and labor of tillage (turning soil with a disc harrow). In a later post I will discuss the no-till idea and its benefits to the soil.


I hired a local farmer with a very large (30 ft. wide) no-till drill (planter) to put in the crop but had to wait until his schedule allowed. This planter has a sharp coulter disc that cuts through residue on the ground, followed by two opener discs that make a slot in the ground where the seed tube drops seed, followed by a press wheel that closes the slot. With the rainy season beginning I was worried he might not get in to the field. Fortunately, he was able to come in a dry window and did 30 acres in a few hours. Good thing, because it rained all the next night and most of the day.


He planted one field to the rye and a mix of rye, bell beans, and daikon radish to 21 acres. The rye scavenges nitrogen that the beans will create from their roots, and the radish makes large holes in the soil that allow water and oxygen to penetrate.

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