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  1. #11
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    284
    Location
    Central Maine
    Tractor
    Kubota BX24 TLB

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    Here in Maine as well as in your neck OTW, Springtime is the best time to remove sod because the frost pushes it loose from the soil. It pretty easy to rip up a big section just after the snow and when the ground is still a little frosty. Trouble is that when you remove the sod, up comes any topsoil attached to the roots. So put it aside so that you can remove the field grass and roots once it dries a bit. Too cold to till for a while so I pile on the compoast and manure (all you really need for great pumpkins!) until things dry enough to till.

    Hope this helps your approach, works for me!

  2. #12
    Super Member radioman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    5,609
    Location
    Ontario, NY
    Tractor
    Kubota BX24

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    well -- I was in your shoes the first time I setup the garden and destroyed the walk behind. Now I have a 3pt tiller and its the cats meow- Just kinda wished I had it sooner. If budget is really a concern - a middle buster will do it and its really not that expensive. In fact -- if you have metal fab skills - you might be able to rig up a middle buster plow on one of your boxblade rippers shank.
    Using your boxblade with one rippers down will act like a subsoiler and will break up the roots for sure, but you still need to turn over the sod so it can kill off whatever is growing on it before tilling.
    using a 3pt tiller will save you many steps and can do it in one shot -- although you most likely will get roots wrapped around the shaft the first few times you use it in virgin soil. Its all about money and time..

  3. #13
    Silver Member koamfps's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    179
    Location
    Michigan
    Tractor
    NH TN70DA & NH 2120

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    Hire someone to come flip the dirt for you then wok it up
    Last edited by koamfps; 02-24-2013 at 01:37 PM. Reason: .

  4. #14
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    504
    Location
    Ottawa Ontario
    Tractor
    Kubota B3300SU

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    As you said it's existing sod/weeds, you need to either plow/disk or till. (plow and till would be my preference) You need something that will 'chop' up the sod. A cultivator won't do that.

  5. #15
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,269
    Location
    Lee, IL
    Tractor
    John Deere 1070

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    I did my 40x80 garden with an Ariens 7020 rear tine tiller. It only took 3 (maybe 4) passes until I had the tines buried. Took me about 4 hours total. I think the horse is probably a heavier tiller and would be even better. This was in sod that had been a corn field probably 4 or 5 years prior, but still pretty compacted. The first year will be the worst, but after that it should be better, especially if you do it at the end of the season as well.

    Last year I tried my 2 bottom moldboard and went over it with a pulverizer to smooth it out. It worked ok, and made the tilling easier. This year I plowed in the fall, and am waiting till spring to go over with the pulverizer if I even need to- looks like the weather has smoothed it out pretty well so far, we'll see. Then again, this winter has been strange, a lot of freeze-thaw cycles, snow... rain... snow and whatever.

  6. #16
    Veteran Member vtsnowedin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    2,106

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    The best thing as far as the soil preparation goes would be to roll it over with a plow. It puts the sod upside down where it rots releasing all the nutrients in the decaying root mass without killing all the worms or greatly decreasing the beneficial bacteria in the soil. A tiller chops up the weed plants into thousands of pieces and leaves plenty of them at the right depth to sprout up over night. Also Adirondack soil (read rocks with a few bits of earth in between) can be very hard on tiller teeth in new ground where you have no idea where the big ones are. A two bottom plow is probably as far as you should go and a one bottom might save time and do a better job as when you hit a rock with a two bottom it messes up two furrows for a one furrow rock. Play with your plow adjustments until you get them right and get a full roll over of the fresh sod with little or any grass showing in the finished work. Then let it dry till it will crumble when kicked and go over it with a disk harrow until you have a good seed bed. Probably need to harrow in some lime at that time depending on the soil test. Don't worry if it isn't perfect as next year you can roll it over again and getting a good job in old ground is much easier. And of course you will have picked out a lot of those rocks the plow found with your loader and won't have to deal with them again. Oh one last thing. Potatoes love to grow in fresh sod from new ground.

  7. #17
    Super Member crazyal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,928
    Location
    Northern Vermont

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    Can you weld and do you own a welder? I'm seriously thinking of using the ripping shanks from a box blade/ grading scraper for the first few passes on virgin soil. I was just going to make a copy of the 4"x4" thick wall tube that holds the rippers to my scraper. It would be simple to make, cheap, and would handle the rocks better than a plow, disc, or tiller.
    Kubota L4240,Case 580K backhoe, Case 450 Dozer

  8. #18
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    292
    Location
    Adirondacks, NY, USA
    Tractor
    John Deere 4520 cab... formerly Yanmar 336D

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    Have I welded? Yes. Would I say I can? No! I've used a friends welder a few times now (stick), but keep threatening to get a MIG for all number of projects I have.

    I'm going to ask around and see if anyone has a 3ph tiller, or if any of the rental places do (doubtful I'm sure), then ask around for old middle busters and subsoilers and such. Not much turning up right now, but we're a few months away from spring, so most of them are likely under a foot or more of snow.
    We all work with what we've got.

  9. #19
    Veteran Member bigtiller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,945
    Location
    central Iowa
    Tractor
    JD 2720

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    Quote Originally Posted by couchsachraga View Post
    Have I welded? Yes. Would I say I can? No! I've used a friends welder a few times now (stick), but keep threatening to get a MIG for all number of projects I have.

    I'm going to ask around and see if anyone has a 3ph tiller, or if any of the rental places do (doubtful I'm sure), then ask around for old middle busters and subsoilers and such. Not much turning up right now, but we're a few months away from spring, so most of them are likely under a foot or more of snow.
    Do a search on Craigs List. As time gets closer to planting, more and more adds will show up for hiring someone to till gardens. Your little 40x40 will be a breeze for a guy that knows what he is doing, and it will be easy on your pocket book.
    HAVE FUN

    Life is easier when you plow around the stumps.


    2720

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