Prehistoric farming Geoff using a Honda rotary tiller. God knows, I could use the exercise, but it’s time to swap chef power for horse power. My intention of growing enough produce for farm self sufficiency, means much larger cultivation. Let’s get serious. By the way, this is a really good exercise in ‘how to start a small rural holding from virgin soil’; even though ours had been left fallow for 4 years, it was as though it was new ground.
Our very first task was to remove the grass which was allowed to grow over my previous veggie garden area. Rather than use herbicides, I opted for manpower. Then, we needed to prepare the soil for cultivation. However, the tractor required to easily handle these tasks wasn’t the tractor I needed to run and maintain my farm, so we called in a local contractor with a very large tractor to rip the ground. This would break up heavily compacted earth and improve drainage. Next, a disc plough (again on the very big tractor) was used to turn the soil over and chop up big clumps of earth.
A moment to acknowledge Mark Williamson. He was so switched on to what I was up to. Coming from his vast experience in the field, one could expect he was locked in to his way and only his way. Nothing further from the truth. He supplied his knowledge to me in a selfless, generous way. I was allowed to advance my 28 years of gardening experience with access to his knowledge and support. The world needs more Mark Williamsons.
Now, finally, it was time for my very own bright new shiny tractor! A Kioti EX50M. Gino DiMarco from Elders Bairnsdale, is the man who guided me through my choice of tractor, and I do mean “The Man” (no crush implied)…
Satisfied that any remaining grass could be managed after the veggie beds were formed, and again on Marks advice, we used a Merbain Plough on the back of my Kioti to form rows (not beds). However, big problem… The initial ripping of the ground didn’t break up the soil in certain patches, which meant the plough was kicked slightly sideways creating curved, not straight rows. Enter “The Man” Gino.