My soils aren’t the best – compacted clay. Contrary to my last name (Tiller), I don’t believe in tilling the soil. I’m an advocate for NO-TILL agriculture. Rototilling, disrupts the microorganisms and earthworms living in the soils – it’s best to leave them be. I did acquiesce to rototilling WIN’s newly established planting beds – just once. I hired two young men, Edgar and Pedro, who did a fantastic job. Last winter’s cover crop of oil seed radish went to seed before I was able to chop it down this spring. It quickly resprouted and covered the newly tilled soil.
Oil Seed Radish is HUGE!
It grows deeply into the ground where it loosens and aerates the soil. An experienced, local farmer told me today that my plan to simply chop off the tops with a hoe and allow the radish root to decompose over the winter wasn’t gonna work as he said the plants would continue to grow from the root – best laid plans… This weekend, I’ll be pulling all those huge Oil Seed Radishes, forming the permanent beds and paths, raking the pulled radishes back over the beds, then covering them with composted steer manure, wood chips, and seaweeds from the island beaches. Those lovingly prepared beds will nurture the earthworms and microorganisms over the winter as they work breaking down the crop residue, manure and wood chips. Next Spring, they’ll be planted with WIN’s flowers and herbs.
Farming is hard work – but, I love it!