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  • How to get fine tilth?

    Hi there! We started on our new allotment a couple of months ago when it was just uncultivated couch grass. We have been digging it over, laying out beds with horse manure etc, but are finding it really difficult to get it to the really fine tilth suitable for seed sowing. Others next to us just rotavated it repeatedly to get it to that stage but we dont have that luxury and have done it all by hand... it has got to golf ball size stage, some smaller, but it dries to a rock-like consistency and I am not sure how to get it any finer! Please help...

  • #2
    Add plenty of organic matter and rake, rake, rake. Don't let the soil dry out too much as it'll set solid (as you may have already found out). I use an azada - allows me to get a fair bit of momentum and clout to break up the big stuff. I then dig in loads of compost and just keep raking, and azada-ing (?) until it breaks down. Then I rake some more, or use the hoe to loosen it up.
    A simple dude trying to grow veg. http://haywayne.blogspot.com/

    BLOG UPDATED! http://haywayne.blogspot.com/2012/01...ar-demand.html 30/01/2012

    Practise makes us a little better, it doesn't make us perfect.


    What would Vedder do?

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    • #3
      As HeyWayne says, it's hardwork. I like the phrase "good spade husbandry" as advised by the council letter when I got an allotment.
      Mark

      Vegetable Kingdom blog

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      • #4
        Thank you sorry to sound dumb Wayne, but when you say "rake" do you mean to rake all the lumps of earth off? What do you do with them then? The rake doesnt seem to break them up...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by spud57 View Post
          Thank you sorry to sound dumb Wayne, but when you say "rake" do you mean to rake all the lumps of earth off? What do you do with them then? The rake doesnt seem to break them up...
          Hit 'em, that's what I do. I don't just use the rake to "rake", I hit the earth (so the prongs dig in if you see what I mean), and then rake backwards and forwards. Sometimes I even hit the earth with the ends of the rake - holding the rake with the prongs facing sideways. You could even use the back of teh rake for some extra oomph.
          A simple dude trying to grow veg. http://haywayne.blogspot.com/

          BLOG UPDATED! http://haywayne.blogspot.com/2012/01...ar-demand.html 30/01/2012

          Practise makes us a little better, it doesn't make us perfect.


          What would Vedder do?

          Comment


          • #6
            Ah hah - the penny finally drops! (sorry, its a long fall....) AND I have ordered an azada - many thanks Wayne!

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            • #7
              rake, thump, swear, rake, bash, pick, rake, drag, swear.

              That's usually my routine. I've recently taken to using a seive too on small er areas - I have loads of stones.
              A simple dude trying to grow veg. http://haywayne.blogspot.com/

              BLOG UPDATED! http://haywayne.blogspot.com/2012/01...ar-demand.html 30/01/2012

              Practise makes us a little better, it doesn't make us perfect.


              What would Vedder do?

              Comment


              • #8
                I rarely sow seeds into my soil. I usually sow into pots/modules and don't let the wee things out into the big wide world till they can take care of themselves. Old softie, me! It means though, that if the soil is still a bit lumpy it's not a great problem.
                Whoever plants a garden believes in the future.

                www.vegheaven.blogspot.com Updated March 9th - Spring

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                • #9
                  If you don't fancy breaking your back and can stretch to about 35 for the day, you can hire a rotavator. Look in yellow pages under 'Tool Hire'. They will probably want a bond as well, which is usually in the form of a cheque for 50 which they give back when you return the machine. Sometimes, they will even deliver and retrieve it all in the price
                  http://norm-foodforthought.blogspot.com/

                  If it ain't broke, don't fix it and if you ain't going to eat it, don't kill it

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                  • #10
                    This is what works for me. Rake the bed somewhere near to level then use the rake as a 'tamper' whacking it down vertically like a piledriver. After you've done this over the whole bed start raking it again ' but with the rake handle close to vertical and only doing a couple of inches at a time 'wavering' over the bed and shuffling backwards.
                    My Majesty made for him a garden anew in order
                    to present to him vegetables and all beautiful flowers.- Offerings of Thutmose III to Amon-Ra (1500 BCE)

                    Diversify & prosper


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                    • #11
                      Rotovator high spin speed and slow forward movement....... Lazy git but hey, it works for me :-)

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                      • #12
                        It depends what kind of soil you started from Spud. It could take 10 years of raking and bashing to get it to a fine tilth. But you can plant some seeds in anything - but for the rest, sow them in compost and plant them out when they have 4 true leaves. Or rake out a baby trench, fill it with compost and sow your seeds there. It will all work out. Good luck.

                        From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

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                        • #13
                          We had a similar problem on our plot last year, until another plot holder showed us her hand held Wolf rotorvator! Basically its a hand held rotorvator thats operated by your own ohysical effort, you just run it backwards and forwards, and the tines break up the clumps to a fine tilth fairly easily and very quickly! The Wolf range are not cheap, but very good, and have a removable head system that allows you to take one handle to the plot and several heads, so lessens the amount of stuff you have to take back and forth, and easy to change over! We regularly use the 4" hoe and the 8' rotorvator heads!
                          Blessings
                          Suzanne (aka Mrs Dobby)

                          'Garden naked - get some colour in your cheeks'!

                          The Dobby's Pumpkin Patch - an Allotment & Beekeeping blogspot!
                          Last updated 16th April - Video intro to our very messy allotment!
                          Dobby's Dog's - a Doggy Blog of pics n posts - RIP Bella gone but never forgotten xx
                          On Dark Ravens Wing - a pagan blog of musings and experiences

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                          • #14
                            Thank you, thank you!! I feel a lot better now... I have sown everything into pots first anyway so that is a relief to know that it will be okay. Thanks also for the tip about the Wolf thingy, Mrs Dobby, I will go and have a look. I quite enjoy all the digging etc but its was getting a bit depressing having neighbours whose plots look smooth as a beach and wondering what I was doing wrong!

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                            • #15
                              Glad the info was of help, there's a thread we posted about them a while ago, link here
                              http://www.growfruitandveg.co.uk/gra...-hoe_5585.html
                              Blessings
                              Suzanne (aka Mrs Dobby)

                              'Garden naked - get some colour in your cheeks'!

                              The Dobby's Pumpkin Patch - an Allotment & Beekeeping blogspot!
                              Last updated 16th April - Video intro to our very messy allotment!
                              Dobby's Dog's - a Doggy Blog of pics n posts - RIP Bella gone but never forgotten xx
                              On Dark Ravens Wing - a pagan blog of musings and experiences

                              Comment

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