Mid season Plot Comparison… .
Here are the main four planting styles I experimented with this year. Ultimately my goal is to be low impact to the environment and water sheds. I would like to use the least amount of fuel as possible and promote beneficial run off with the use of various microbes. Being practical cannot be ignored though, which is a big reason I went with a plowed test plot to compare to no till. The plowed plot could be come no till though and that is now on my mind for expanding in the field. Last august I disc’d and shaped beds in the no till areas pictured, to me breaking the ground even on no till seemed like a necessity at least in year one. .
We have two front-runners, which are near identical, the plowed plot and the no till raised beds consisting of clay and compost. Slight advantage to the raised beds but considering the lack of effort that went into the plow plot there is something to consider there. With in the plowed plot I have various mulches, and no mulch. All are comparable, only difference really is weed pressure. Plowed plot has had no water, no IPM, no nutrients, no foliar sprays, absolutely nothing besides plowing, planting, mulching, weeding. Now the raised beds have had 3 layers of mulch (grass clippings, hay, wood chips w/ leaf), numerous foliar applications using AACT, KNF inputs, and IPM. The forest humus raised beds are performing well but not notable in my eyes because of practicality and they dry out extremely fast. On a small scale they are perfect, large scale not so much. Then we have the drilled clay plot; worse planting of all. These were drilled with an augur, sides of holes where spiked with a pickaxe to avoid hard panning and amended with a hand full of compost. The soil is super compacted and it’s showing. One other test plot not pictured that was an epic failure too. Using horse manure as an amendment in raised beds and also on the compacted clay is not performing at all, most plants are in the compost pile from this area. The manure was 3+ years old and applied 10 months prior to planting. Not good, even most weeds aren’t growing well on those rows. .
TBC on next Comment…