Our no-till planting experiment has taken another round; we have now actually planted tomatoes into the no-tilled field! It was clear after spending a day in the heat getting those tomatoes in the ground that we are substituting some heavy tractor work, to till the field and get it ready for planting, with some heavy hand labor to plant those tomato plants. In theory, the less-disturbed soil will produce fantastic crops due to the heigthened soil health, and weeds will be less of a problem, since it is turning over the soil that encourages those weeds to germinate. We will have to crunch some numbers come winter to help us figure out which costs us more; the tractor-intensive style we are accustomed to, or this new labor-intensive model. The carbon budget certainly favors the no-till model twice, so we would go that way if all else is equal. And we’ll see how well the tomatoes grow! I certainly had some skepticism about putting one of our most valuable crops into such rough conditions! We’ll keep you posted…. Here are some pictures of the process:
We broadforked along the row to give provide a little bit of fluffier soil for the tomatoes to get planted into. The whole thing is work, but the broadforking in the hot sun was a doozy. We switched off, and even your middle-aged f
armer was able to do one of the five rows without passing out. Ana, rock star that she is, did two rows!