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  1. #1
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    295
    Location
    Adirondacks, NY, USA
    Tractor
    John Deere 4520 cab... formerly Yanmar 336D

    Default Old field... to garden?

    Just below my barn is an old field. It's been a grassy field for decades, it started growing in with alder, willow, and red osher a bit about a two decades ago until I started mowing it again, first with an old Farmall Cub and cycle bar and then with a brush hog. It is a bit damp in spots at times (borders a stream), and the grass root system is very well developed. Good soil (well, for the Adirondacks!), no clay, definitely some rocks (some larger than others...)

    I'd like to plant some corn and pumpkins there, nothing super elaborate, and a good distance from the stream (and really wet spots). Maybe 40x100 +-.

    I have a Troy Built Rototiller I used to till my gardens up with - but it would take many, many passes to turn field in to garden. I have covered over a good 40x40 patch with a tarp this winter to start loosening things up though.

    I also have a 60hp tractor (Deere 4520).

    So... what implement would be most economical to help turn the field in to plantable garden? Yes, I could purchase a 60 or 72" tiller, but for the little use it would see I'm not sure it is worth the investment. I don't mind using one implement to get things started, then follow up with my Troy Built later if that's the best way to go.

    I've tried reading up on different mold board plows, etc... but all I get is confused.

    I do have quite a few implements already, but they are mostly earth-working (roads) - back blade, box blade, land plane and landscape rake to name a few.

    Thank you for any ideas / suggestions!
    We all work with what we've got.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    1,647
    Location
    Mt Crawford Va
    Tractor
    massey GC 2400 JD LA 145

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    If you try plowing and then your troy built I think you will find that it will be rough going. The plow will leave very rough ground for a tiller to follow. If you follow the plow with a disc it would be smother and you would not need the troy built, However if you buy a new plow and disc you have most likely paid for a 3ph tiller. You could also try a middle buster, but a 60hp tractor will pack the worked soil down pretty good and ........ I think with a 60 hp tractor you need a pto tiller or plow and disc.

  3. #3
    Elite Member Don87's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    4,226
    Location
    SW Pa.
    Tractor
    Massey Ferguson GC2400

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    A potato plow(middle buster), and a one row cultivator will work well for you.

    Like this: CountyLineŽ Middle Buster - 2128228 | Tractor Supply Company

    And this: CountyLineŽ "C" Tine Cultivator, 1 Row - 2128139 | Tractor Supply Company

    With a 60hp tractor, you may need a little heavier duty, but if you are careful they should work fine.
    Don

    MF GC2400, FEL, 60in.MMM, 5ft. Cultivator, Single Bottom Plow, Bush Hog RTC48 tiller, MF 2360 front mount snowblower, 5ft backblade. BXpanded Piranha toothbar.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    732
    Location
    Germanton, NC
    Tractor
    Kubota MX5100F IH McCormick Farmall 140, Massey Ferguson 135

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    If you are ruling out the 3 pt tiller, then a turning plow and a disc harrow are the way to go. Using a walk behind tiller on plowed land is difficult so the disc is the way to work the plowed land. Both the plow and disc could be borrowed from a neighbor if you don't have one or both. A heavy drag behind the disc will help break the soil up if worked at the right moisture content. The land plane might work.

    You will want the spot turned as soon as possible to allow any remaining freeze-thaw and rain to break the soil up some.

  5. #5
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    295
    Location
    Adirondacks, NY, USA
    Tractor
    John Deere 4520 cab... formerly Yanmar 336D

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    Oh I've got some time to think - we typically have snow on the ground through April. By mid to late may the ground should be dry enough to work. Planting in late may to the middle of June is the norm. I've seen it snow (and stick to the ground) at the end (25th) of June before...

    Thank you for the replies... I'll take a look at those suggestions... and perhaps rethink a 3ph tiller if I can't find used middle buster and C tine cultivators around.
    We all work with what we've got.

  6. #6
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    10,042
    Location
    somewhere usa
    Tractor
    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, x758, L130

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    Is there any place you can rent a tiller or maybe have someone till it for you? I have a couple of retired neighbors and till up their garden plots free each year.

  7. #7
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    295
    Location
    Adirondacks, NY, USA
    Tractor
    John Deere 4520 cab... formerly Yanmar 336D

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    Not that i know of... locally I'm one of the ones tilling gardens for retired neighbors... but that's with the Troy Bilt "horse", not a 3ph mounted tiller. It IS tempting to get one though, I must admit, though I"m not really sure how much use it would get unless I went looking for gardens... and that would require trailering.

    I am wondering if just using the rippers on the Land Plane for a bunch of passes, then a bunch of passes with a cultivator might do the trick. It might be amusing using the cultivator with some corn for a bit too. I'm not likely to weed this particular garden, I have two others that are my "serious" gardens. My goal is really to grow some nice pumpkins for my kids and their friends, as well as get some of the corn out of my other gardens.
    We all work with what we've got.

  8. #8
    Elite Member Don87's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    4,226
    Location
    SW Pa.
    Tractor
    Massey Ferguson GC2400

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    I would want to turn the ground fairly deep before putting the cultivator to it, otherwise it will break the tines on the cultivator. That's why I suggested the middle buster first.

    TripleR has used this method succesfully, and although I tried it here, I just couldn't get the ground broken up enough for my liking(although I could have planted the way it was).

    So I purchased a tiller.
    Don

    MF GC2400, FEL, 60in.MMM, 5ft. Cultivator, Single Bottom Plow, Bush Hog RTC48 tiller, MF 2360 front mount snowblower, 5ft backblade. BXpanded Piranha toothbar.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    Mar 2010
    Posts
    1,540

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    A disc will run over the rocks without tearing up a plow.I would put some weight on a disc and make as many passes as needed for your seed bed. You said it with the; work with what you've got. Three point tillers get real pricey around spring.

  10. #10
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    10,042
    Location
    somewhere usa
    Tractor
    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, x758, L130

    Default Re: Old field... to garden?

    When I bought the 4520 cab back in 2009 I also picked up the 673 tiller and 1072 field cultivator (6ft). While waiting for this to arrive I built an 8ft landplane and spiked tooth harrow. I have used most of the arrangements you speak of and would say the tiller definately works the best. I have played with the cultivator a little but really would rather have my money back. I also have a new one row cultivator that I haven't assembled yet, so the jury is still out on it. I would say that this isn't a job the cultivators are designed for at any rate.

    I would recommend a tiller or disk for this work as the best choice. If I had to use rippers on a landplane or boxblade initially then smoothing out the ground with a roller might help enough that you could use the Troybilt tiller. I think it would be tough to do though. I really think you would be better off doing more investigating to see if someone is available to till it for you.

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