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From Message
Janese Spencer

Thursday, August 01, 2002
Subject: soil preparation
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I am interested in growing and drying flowers in my field. I was wondering how you prepared your soil before you started your first crop?
My field is now a hay field with grass and alph alpha. Is it possible to spray and not be crazy with weeds the next year? What advise can you give.

Thank you,

Janese Spencer


Thursday, August 01, 2002
RE: soil preparation
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Well our land was a pasture for over 150 years and we still fight weeds. Think about it, if the pasture was not well maintained (which it was not), we have 150 years of seed stored in the soil. It is interesting in that you can see a gradient of weeds from our 'longest' worked ground to the very back, which is the 'least' worked ground. To be able to actually see this is encouraging in that we 'are' winning the war.

I would plow and disk once (only). Let this go to seed and then disk the new growth in and continue this process for as long as time allows. Then, before you are ready to plant, spray with Round-Up once (only) which will kill everything especially the perennial weeds. Then work the soil again before planting.

We use a Rotivator to work the soil the most. Basically it is a large rototiller (5' wide) that hooks onto a tractor. I find that this is much less damaging to the soil (i.e. creating a hard pan with cont. use of a plow). Actually, a chisel plow would even be better but we do not have one or a large enough tractor to pull one (requires high horsepower).

Once we are planted, I cultivate with a Farmall 140 every single week. Even if you can not see the weeds, they are there and if you can just lift them out of the soil, they will perish. We also spend a great deal of time with hoes.

Good luck,

D. Scott

P 1

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