Ground breaking

I figured out that I have somewhere around 1.5 million square feet of flat pasture land on my newly acquired farm.

I'm going to use somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 sqft for my garden this year (I don't have the exact number yet, since I haven't gotten to the drawn plans just yet).

Here is my question: When should I go about breaking the new ground? Right now the pasture that I'm going to use it a very nice and short (but fairly rough) grassland. There is about 24 inches of dark brown topsoil over Tennessee red clay.

Should I till this stuff up right now? Or should I wait until February or April to do the initial groundbreaking?

Do you recommend I use a rototiller for this, or should I borrow my neighbor's tractor+plow for a day?


Milo, IA(Zone 5a)

Dave: Borrow your neighbor's tractor & plow and plow it up now, let it set over winter, then till in spring. It will work up much easier and nicer this way. Fall plowing is best, the grass is turned under and has all winter to start to decompose. You won't have as much grass to contend with in the spring. Debby

Elizabethton (Stoney, TN(Zone 6b)

Since it's too late to do it in fall, I suggest February on a warm day when it's not too wet. Most people around here (in east TN) plow in Feb. Then you should probably till it in April after the grass has broken down. Are you going to plant by the signs or just the calendar?

I'm going to plant by the signs. My father-in-law has convinced me that, after 30 years of heavy gardening, this is the only way to go. Shrug. I'll try it this year and see what happens. I've got enough seed and space to try a variety of methods.

Regarding plowing: I'm going to plow in early January - when we've not have any rain or snow for a few days. In short: at the first opportunity, I'll be plowing. I want the ground to be as broken up and grass-free as possible for this spring.


Lyndeborough, NH

Another advantage of fall tilling is it also kills overwintering bugs and diseases.

Plato, MO(Zone 5a)

I'm a fall tiller....Dec,I'm thinking is too late.May do more harm than good at this point.Thinking your unger snow also,correct?

Next year,Just after first frost.TILL it under.should help weed control and insects.I also lay out my first 2-4" of manure at that time.

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