Tillage Practices: How to Plow a Field, Equipment Choices, Crop Rotation and More

Learn the about the basics of tillage equipment, how to plow a field and the importance of crop rotation In this chapter excerpt from Richard Langer's Grow It!.



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A roto tiller is a useful tool for preparing garden beds, but if you have a handful of acres you'll probably want a tractor and plow.
ILLUSTRATION: RICHARD LANGER
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Moldboard plows are the best choice for small farms with more than an acre or two to work. Disc plows, while more efficient, are generally reserved for farms of a few hundred acres.
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A spring-tooth harrow helps even out the size of soil clumps in your newly plowed field.
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Splitting your field into "land" sections allows you to plow more efficiently.
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For a small farm, or when planting crops that do not need to be planted in rows, a hand-cranked seed broadcaster can help you get the seed spacing right.
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This crop rotation chart demonstrates how crops may be moved each year for the best use of your soil nutrients and to avoid long-term pest infestations.
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This harrowing pattern will level your field for planting.
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Limning and fertilizing require a different pattern than plowing.
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