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Tilling And More Tilling

Posted 9/15/2016 6:35am by David Zemelsky.

For some farmers, tilling is a four letter word.  For others, a necessary evil.  And still others-pure joy.  The later is a variety of farmers that enjoys seeing fallow ground turn into a fluffy blanket of smooth weedless soil, ready to grow whatever the farmer wants.  For myself, my belief in tilling falls somewhere inbetween the two.  Soil is happiest when it gets disturbed the least.  Tractors driving on it and rototillers stirring it up like a food processor-none of those things helps the health of what goes on below the surface.  And what goes on below the surface?  Just so much.  Fungal and microbial growth that would defy your imagination.  Other insects burrowing through the  soil, not to mention worms and moles.  Creatures both miniscule and not so much doing their part to make the soil a happy place.  No wonder they can't stand tilling, as it rips up their happy homes, tunnels and chemical balances.  Rototilling basically takes the soil on top and puts it on the bottom. So one is inverting the  soil.  By putting the bottom on the top, one is also taking vast weed seed banks and exposing them to light and eventually germination.  So when a rototiller finishes its work, it may look weedless, but that is very deceptive.  There are now millions of weed seeds that are suddenly able to germinate.  About ten years ago, I wondered if there might be a tractor implement that just stirs up the soil rather than inverting it, therefore not exposing any need weed seeds to the surface and germination.  After a bit of research, I discovered the "power harrow".  This machine looks like a tiller but instead of blades that pull the lower soil up and push the surface soil down, this machine just stirs it around-much like an eggbeater.  It is manufactored in Italy and was sold by some dealer in California.  So, I thought we'd give it a try.  The results are wonderful.  Sub surface weeds are kept where they lie and the ground has a great surface to plant into.  It doesn't go as deep as a rototiller, but we get around that by using the subsoiler before using the power harrow.  The subsoiler literally hooks the soil and rips into the soil to a depth of 2 feet.  Water finds its way into this crack and the soil does not become compacted.  Everyone's happy.  If you'd like to know more about soil health, contact your local NOFA-CT office( CTNOFA.ORG)

Before telling you what's available at the store, I needed to mention that we it has become cool enough to start  pea tendrils again.  Look for them in about 10 more days.  For those of you who haven't tried pea tendrils- they taste exactly like fresh peas, except you don't have to shell them.  Another fall crop that is on its way is spinach.  I've had a few false starts because of the heat (spinach does not like heat), but we're on our way now.

Ok.  On to the store.  Let me know what you'd like by 10AM Friday.  Order  will be in our shed at 54 Fowler Ave. by 2pm on  that same Friday.  Your order will have your name by it and the amount owed.

here’s what we’ve got for you:

French Fingerling Potatoes5/lb

big kale $4/bunch

Arugula $6/bag

Salad greens $6/bag

Beets and pretty decent topst $4/bunch

Hearty German garlic $2.50/head

Spring tower! This is an excitiing lettuce that one eats both the leaves and the core (which is delicious beyond all words) $3/head

Assorted sweet peppers (really pretty and tasty) $5/lb

Eggplant. both the striped and the Asian. 5/lb

Thyme and sage $4/bag

Heirloom tomatoes $6.50/lb-still amazing with the height of summer flavor

Juliets- $6.50 still my Desert Island Tomato

Sun Golds and Black Cherry- outstanding cherry tomatoes $6/pint

Sun dried tomatoes $4/oz

Have a great week