What Is Over Tilling?
Over tilling means that you have not only planted your crops but also dug up all the soil around them, leaving no room for future growth. This practice is generally frowned upon because it prevents plants from getting enough space to grow properly. You may think that over-tillage is just digging up the ground and planting, however, there are other ways of doing it besides simply digging up the ground.
Tillage refers to the act of removing soil from a plot of land. There are several types of tilling methods used on farms. Some methods involve using a shovel or spade while others use mechanical equipment such as rotary tills, rollers, etc. The main purpose behind any type of tilling method is to remove soil so that it can be replaced with another layer of topsoil (or mulch).
Types Of Tilling Methods Used On Farms
Rolling Tilled – Rolling tilling involves rolling the soil back and forth repeatedly until it becomes compacted into a hard surface. Rollers are machines that roll the soil back and forth, which helps to create a flat surface where new soil can be laid down. Rotating Tilled – Rotating tilling involves rotating the soil at different speeds to cause it to become compacted into a harder material. However, this type of tilling works best on softer types of soil and might not work on other types.
Benefits Of Over Tilling
Over tilling is a controversial topic. Some people prefer it and see it as the best way to grow crops or flowers in their own gardens while others see it as a waste of time because they can easily plant their flowers or crops without doing any preliminary steps. It is also seen as a zero-maintenance way of growing plants since you don’t have to worry about future weeding, watering, or other upkeep. There are also those who don’t like over tilling because it can lead to other problems.
Over tilling can lead to the destruction of important nutrients and microorganisms that help plants thrive. The act of repeatedly digging up soil can make it harder for plants to get the nutrients they need. This is especially a problem for people who like to use organic fertilizers since nutrients aren’t readily available for the plant to take in. In addition, the loose soil can lead to compaction. This means that air and water won’t be able to pass through the soil as easily, which can also have a negative impact on plants.
Over tilling can lead to compacted soil, but it doesn’t happen overnight. If you simply over till every once in awhile, this won’t be an issue. It is only when you do it regularly that you will start experiencing problems with your soil. This means that if you like to occasionally till your own garden, you don’t have to worry about this occurring. So, if you are worried about this happening, make sure that you don’t over-till the same patch of soil year after year.
Rotate where you plant your flowers or crops and only till in patches of soil that need it.
Over tilling isn’t all bad, but it isn’t always the best idea either. It is important to remember that not all soil types are the same. If you have a type of soil that is already loose, then this probably isn’t going to be an issue for you since the soil will already be loose to begin with. But if you have soil that is on the heavier side or if you have soil that tends to pack down, then over tilling can cause problems. Use your best judgment when it comes to your specific soil type and how you like to garden.
How To Over Till Soil:
Use the right tools – When it comes to over tilling soil, you will need to use a rake with metal tines instead of plastic or wooden ones. The metal tines can easily cut through the soil and help to break it up better than other types. In addition, you will need a garden shovel that is made of sturdy material.
Pick a day – The best time to over till your soil is actually after it has rained. The moisture from the rain will help to loosen the soil, which will make it easier to work with. If it hasn’t rained, then water the area that you will be working in before you get started.
The first step is to use your metal rake and go over the soil in long strokes. Go back and forth over the same area multiple times to loosen the soil.
Once you have raked the soil, pick out any large rocks or sticks that you see and then proceed to turn the soil with your shovel. You want to cut through at least 6 inches of soil.
Add organic matter to the top layer of soil if desired or necessary. This will help to add nutrients and help the soil hold moisture better. Mix it in with the shovel.
Once this is done, you can add your seeds or plants and then mulch the top. This will help keep the soil loose and cool.
Another option if you just want to loosen the soil a little bit is to pull out large weeds in your yard. The roots will help to break up the soil as you pull. You can also do this in other parts of your yard that don’t have flowers or vegetables growing in them.
In addition to over tilling, there are other ways that you can loosen soil if you find that it is packed down or too heavy in general. Adding organic material to the top layer is helpful and certain types of weeds can work as well. By pulling these weeds out, the roots will naturally loosen the soil some as well.
You can also use a sharp spade to make slices or slits in the top layer of soil. This will give water and nutrients a place to go instead of running off.
Getting Down To Earth
Ways To Loosen Heavy Soil
There are some areas where the soil is just naturally too heavy. The texture and density may cause problems with plant growth. The type of crops that you grow may also dictate how you need to loosen the soil.
This article will focus on how you can get the soil just right for growing most types of fruit and vegetables.
You can also visit our other article about over tilling.
The first thing you want to do is make sure that you have enough room to loosen the soil area. You don’t want to be digging up a large portion of your yard if you only have a few small plants to put in.
There are various ways to loosen the top layer of soil. You can use a sharp spade or shovel to slice through the top layer. This is not recommended if your soil is hard packed or full of stones though. For soft soil, this will help to loosen it with each slice.
You can also use a rototiller to turn the soil over. If you don’t own one of these, you can rent them fairly inexpensively from most local rental stores.
For a small garden, you can actually just use your hands. Dig your fingers into the soil and pull it up in chunks. This may take awhile, but it will loosen the soil fairly well and get rid of pesky weeds at the same time.
As you are loosening the soil, add some grass clippings, leaves or other organic material to help keep it loose after you are finished.
Check your soil to make sure that it has been loosened enough. If you have very sandy soil, you may only need to loosen the top few inches. If you have clay based soil, you may need to loosen it quite a bit more.
If you are planting seeds, you can plant them as soon as the soil is loosened.
If you need to transplant larger plants, this process should be done about a week before you are going to plant them. This will give them time to recover before you plant them.
This process should be done a week before you plan to plant anything for the best results.
Sources & references used in this article:
Agriculture without tillage by GB Triplett, DM Van Doren – Scientific American, 1977 – JSTOR
Conservation tillage, no-tillage and related technologies by R Derpsch – Conservation agriculture, 2003 – Springer
No‐tillage crop production: A revolution in agriculture! by GB Triplett Jr, WA Dick – Agronomy journal, 2008 – Wiley Online Library
Reduced and zero-tillage options for establishment of wheat after rice in South Asia by PR Hobbs, GS Giri – Wheat: prospects for global improvement, 1997 – Springer
Why do we need to standardize no-tillage research? by R Derpsch, AJ Franzluebbers, SW Duiker… – Soil and Tillage …, 2014 – Elsevier
Is conservation tillage suitable for organic farming? A review by J Peigné, BC Ball, J Roger‐Estrade… – Soil use and …, 2007 – Wiley Online Library