The Boys' Bugle

A Christian magazine for boys featuring things of both a spiritual and physical nature.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Bed System for raising produce

The conventional way of farming did not suit us for our pesticide and herbicide free produce farm. We had problems with erosion, overworking the soil, tilling and mowing small sections when a crop was finished, etc. Therefore we switched to a bed system. The bed is about 5 ft. wide and the walk way is about 3 ft. wide.
Generally we first mow the bed down with the flail mower to grind the weeds and spent plants. Then we disc it twice, followed with the rototiller. We may also run the field cultivator (S-tines) over it to make it smoother. Then we plant it and if necessary, we’ll cultipack it. We haven’t yet moldboard plowed it or remade the beds after a few years. The tractor tires always are driving on the walk ways; therefore the beds never get compacted. We try to have clover growing in the walk ways. We have very nice sandy soil, which makes life easier.
We try to keep a cover crop growing any time a bed isn’t planted in a useable crop. It’s best to never have bare dirt. Cover crops are good for soil fertility and for weed control. We use mostly oats, buckwheat, rye, and vetch for cover crops.
We built a nice cultivator for cultivating the beds. The cultivator has a diesel engine with hydrostatic drive (like a skid loader). The engine and operator and cultivators all go up and down. We made it so we can quickly put different attachments on it. Mostly I use 9 inch sweeps on S-tines or the tine harrow for cultivation. The tine harrow has lots of long (about 24 inch) teeth something like would be on a hay rake that scratch the ground. The tine harrow is good for sprouting weeds. We use it on most everything, including carrots. I also have an attachment for making hills, like for potatoes. And attachments for marking rows, harrowing a whole bed, and such. I really like my cultivator.
This system works nice for us on our farm.

Buckwheat for a cover crop.


Deer Fence

Cultivating strawberries


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