To till or not to till? Part 2

Question: I understand that no-till farming is beneficial, but how can I control weeds if I don’t use herbicide and don’t till the soil? Hand-weeding is laborious and I can't do it on a big plantation. Answer: That is a very good question. The answer depends on many factors, including equipment, money, labor, pest control … Continue reading To till or not to till? Part 2

What do scientists see in soil pits?

Photo: Soil Science Society of America Marbut slide collection. Question: When soil scientists dig a big hole to examine the soil, what are they looking for exactly? Answer: Soil scientists are looking for several things when they examine the soil exposed in a hole--or, as soil scientists like to call it--a soil pit. A soil … Continue reading What do scientists see in soil pits?

Keeping soil in its place

Question: What are some things that farmers do to keep soils from eroding? Answer: What a great question, but let’s not limit it to farmers! Erosion is a natural process; it is the reason we have valleys, mesas, sand dunes, and the Grand Canyon. There are three processes in erosion: 1) Detachment of soil particles … Continue reading Keeping soil in its place

To till or not to till

Question: I understand that tillage can be harmful to soils. So, if that's the case, why do farmers till soils? A freshly tilled garden soil. Photo courtesy of Chiot's Run (www.flickr.com/photos/chiotsrun/) Answer: Till, plow, cultivate–these words all describe the practice of using tools to move soil particles around, cut slices into the soil, push the … Continue reading To till or not to till