Cultivating Land: Tractor Plows, Garden Cultivators or Farming With Horses

Cultivating Land: Tractor Plows, Garden Cultivators or Farming With Horses

When you're preparing soil for planting, there are several ways to go about it. In this excerpt, discover the pros and cons of garden tractors, tillers and horse-drawn plows.

Come all ye honest plowmen, Old England's fate you hold! - Old Song

In spite of the teachings of the no-digging and no-plowing school of husbandmen, people still go on digging and plowing, as they have done ever since Neolithic times, and my guess is that they will go on digging and plowing as long as men live on this earth. For there is really no other way of effectively growing arable crops - at least, without the impracticable use of enormous quantities of compost.

Cobbett says, in Cottage Economy: 'As to the act of making bread, it would be shocking indeed if that had to be taught by means of books.' I would like to paraphrase that: 'as to the act of digging'. The only thing I will say about it, realizing that the flight from the cities is likely to include people who have practically never seen a spade, is that you should nearly always dig a trench when you begin preparing soil for planting: that is, remove one spit of soil (a spit is the wedge of soil cut by the spade) out in a furrow right across your piece of ground and dump it, then turn the next row of spits upside down into the furrow you have left. Thus you always have an open furrow in front of you to invert your spits into. When you come to the end of your piece you should, in theory at least, load the first lot of spits you dug out and dumped into a wheelbarrow and cart them back to fill up the empty furrow that has been left at the end.

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