Newbie: Never Cultivated Densely Packed Up To 3 Inches Topsoil

   / Newbie: Never Cultivated Densely Packed Up To 3 Inches Topsoil #1  

Sustain26

New member
Joined
Jan 18, 2023
Messages
5
Location
Quebec
Tractor
Mtd mower
Hi from Canada,
Instead of ploughing and then tilling, would a walk behind trencher do both on never cultivated densely packed with root systems, underground roots and rocks in up to 3 inches of topsoil?

Cost wise, the $ and time spent doing it the usual way seems much more. I would bring in gardening soil
before planting.
Cheers!
 
   / Newbie: Never Cultivated Densely Packed Up To 3 Inches Topsoil #2  

LittleBittyBigJohn

Gold Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2021
Messages
367
Location
Central Arkansas
Tractor
John Deere 1025R, Gravely Rapid XZ 60" zero turn
How big of an area are you talking about? Do you already have the trencher and don't have a tiller? What kind of roots, big tree roots or just grass and ground cover roots?

Sure a trencher would work, but you would probably have to make a pass about every 6 inches then hit it all again at a 90 degree angle every 6 inches or so. If you are only talking about a very small planting bed and you already have the trencher, have at it. If you are talking about much area at all you are going to be at it for a very long time.

Back yard garden size can be done with just a walk behind tiller. I've done it several times. It's labor and time intensive but absolutely doable. If you have several big roots you need to use a mattock and/or axe to chop them out of the ground when they are too much for the tiller. Same with the rocks. The soil needs to be moist when tilling a new area. It's hard to get enough penetration break up dry ground and too wet will bog the machine down.

You might be talking about a very small area since you mentioned bringing in garden soil. If it's a small area you can kill the grass, use the mattock to bust it up, and then add your dirt, avoiding the need for either the tiller or the trencher.
 
   / Newbie: Never Cultivated Densely Packed Up To 3 Inches Topsoil
  • Thread Starter
#3  
OP
S

Sustain26

New member
Joined
Jan 18, 2023
Messages
5
Location
Quebec
Tractor
Mtd mower
Hello LittleBittyBigJohn,

I am trying to measure the time and energy needed to clear the forested areas, remove stumps, timing the snow melt, gauging the tools needed, etc.
So the trencher might make things harder because the debris (rocks, bits of
cut up roots, etc.) will have to be removed before dumping soil and planting.
I hadn't thought of that.
It might be faster but still hard work to cut up the topsoil into small pieces of one foot square (actually cubes), work the soil/earth underneath with a rake
to remove stones, rocks or boulders (!) and other debris. I've done this before with a spade and an edger.
I dump the removed chunks into hollows where there is standing water to foil the mosquitos and generally landfill.
Thanks for your advice.
 
   / Newbie: Never Cultivated Densely Packed Up To 3 Inches Topsoil #4  

ruffdog

Super Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2011
Messages
8,543
Location
southern wisconsin
Tractor
Bobcat Toolcat 5610G, Deere X744, Cub Cadet IH 982
You want to turn a forested area that has little top soil but lots of stumps, roots, and rocks into a garden?
 
   / Newbie: Never Cultivated Densely Packed Up To 3 Inches Topsoil
  • Thread Starter
#5  
OP
S

Sustain26

New member
Joined
Jan 18, 2023
Messages
5
Location
Quebec
Tractor
Mtd mower
Yes. I don't have to clear cut, if that's what you mean.
Some trees (they are mostly evergreens) block the sun.
Companion planting is also a goal.
 
   / Newbie: Never Cultivated Densely Packed Up To 3 Inches Topsoil #7  

ruffdog

Super Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2011
Messages
8,543
Location
southern wisconsin
Tractor
Bobcat Toolcat 5610G, Deere X744, Cub Cadet IH 982
If evergreens (6" trunk) are within 40 feet of the garden, roots will have an effect on your crop. I have had to keep moving my garden for this reason. As the trees get bigger, I have to move further away. I have about 18" of good soil I can work with. I also compost kitchen waste, leaves, pine needles that get put into the garden.

As far as your 3" of soil on top of rocks, that will be a struggle. I think you would really need to add lots of growing medium to get a nice loamy soil.
 
   / Newbie: Never Cultivated Densely Packed Up To 3 Inches Topsoil
  • Thread Starter
#8  
OP
S

Sustain26

New member
Joined
Jan 18, 2023
Messages
5
Location
Quebec
Tractor
Mtd mower
How big of an area?
Officially 11 acres, but the forest grew back over the years. If I clear or thin the trees, 5 acres. It's also a wood lot for wood heat.
 
   / Newbie: Never Cultivated Densely Packed Up To 3 Inches Topsoil
  • Thread Starter
#9  
OP
S

Sustain26

New member
Joined
Jan 18, 2023
Messages
5
Location
Quebec
Tractor
Mtd mower
If evergreens (6" trunk) are within 40 feet of the garden, roots will have an effect on your crop. I have had to keep moving my garden for this reason. As the trees get bigger, I have to move further away. I have about 18" of good soil I can work with. I also compost kitchen waste, leaves, pine needles that get put into the garden.

As far as your 3" of soil on top of rocks, that will be a struggle. I think you would really need to add lots of growing medium to get a nice loamy soil.
Yes, the evergreens compete with each other aggressively. Useful as a windbreak (that I don't need)? I have to be ready to use smudge fires, the chance of a killer frost in June is remote but occurred twice in my lifetime.
Plus the various animals - deer, groundhogs, rabbits, etc.
 
   / Newbie: Never Cultivated Densely Packed Up To 3 Inches Topsoil #10  

WesKootenay

Silver Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2017
Messages
116
Location
Slocan Valley, BC, Canada
Tractor
BCS 732. Mahindra 1815 sub compact.
We have a BCS 732 tractor that I use with a rotary plow to break up new ground. It does a great job because it ejects rocks and chops small roots as it plows. Also, great for building raised beds for garlic, potatoes, etc, that need good drainage.
We have a local Farmers Co-op that rents out BCS equipment.
 
 
Top