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Digital Subscriptions > Hobby Farms > Nov/Dec 2019 > Organic No-Till

Organic No-Till

Biologically practical and mechanically possible, farmers now have the option to utilize organic no-till on their farms.
For larger plots, black plastic can be placed atop grass for a few months to kill off vegetation. When it’s time to plant, simply rake the bare soil clear.

When my wife and I moved our family back to Kentucky to start a sustainable farming operation in the wild and rugged outskirts of Franklin County, our plan was simple: We’d raise chickens, pigs and cattle on pasture, and a large market garden would supply us (and, eventually — hopefully — our neighbors) with fresh, organically raised produce. We ended up doing much of this, raising meat and layer chickens, establishing a pork-breeding program and, for a while, caring for a pair of black Dexter cows. But before any of that, and within days of moving into a Civil Warera farmhouse, we mapped a 10,000-square-foot piece of grass behind the house, pulled out the tiller and proceeded to tear things up.

Breaking the earth on our farm felt like the new beginning we sought. Tilling is what farmers do. But our soil was clayey and difficult, and when heavy rains washed what little topsoil we did have down our gently sloping land, the garden bed pooled rainwater. Then the mud dried to a cracked surface, putting a serious damper on our market-garden aspirations.

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Hobby Farms November/December 2019, Ultimate Guide to FIREWOOD, The Business of Farming, Grow Mushrooms on Compost, Year-Round Greenhouse Pest Management, And More....