Rotorvating timings

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vancheese
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Rotorvating timings

Post: # 276300Post vancheese »

Hi people

I've a semi-large area of grassland (50 x 50m) which I would like to use for growing sunflowers (for rabbit food) and then assorted crops. My question is when and how frequently should i rotorvate the land to remove the majority of the weeds and grass and make it suitable for crop growth.
Any tips of the trade?

Andy

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Re: Rotorvating timings

Post: # 276311Post seasidegirl »

I've never used a rotivator but wouldn't recommend one for grassland. It will just chop up all the roots into more roots, which will grow.

I'd look into the possibility of removing the turf, or cutting the grass then covering beds with mulch and planting into it. Growing potatoes through cardboard with a mulch on top could work well as the spuds are good cultivators in themselves. You could leave grass paths between the beds. Sounds fun, good luck.

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Flo
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Re: Rotorvating timings

Post: # 276477Post Flo »

If you have dandelions, docks, nettles or couch grass and you rotovate them, you multiply the problem. You really need a turf stripper. When the turf is stripped you stack it upside down and it rots down. Then you can use it again as soil. Once the turf is gone, you need to clear by normal digging methods to get rid of obnoxious roots (as in dandelions, docks, nettles or couch grass). Once the soil is clear of all such, then you rotovate to obtain a fine tilth for planting.

Other than that, you wait for the growing season to return and spray the entire area. Once everything has died back (takes time and sometimes a second application) then you can rotovate to obtain a fine tilth for planting.

Been in the trade and that's my experience for what it's worth. :mrgreen:

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Re: Rotorvating timings

Post: # 276482Post vancheese »

Yikes, Lots of work :(
Is there anything else I can do bah digging this area by hand? Blowtorching the grass?

Andy

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Re: Rotorvating timings

Post: # 276497Post diggernotdreamer »

What I would do is go and collect up as much cardboard, paper feed sacks, straw, grass mowings, and start covering the area with a thick mulch, puttting down cardboard and thick paper topped with straw, mowings, silage, anything that will exclude light, you could even use a landscape fabric. If you put something down now, by spring most of the stuff will have died down and you should have some nice bare soil underneath, save for some deep rooted perennials which you will be able to remove a bit more easily, you even top up the mulch further and when you are ready to sow your sunflowers, you could either grow them as transplants and stick them in or broadcast the seed and just rake the mulches around. I have never rototovated anything and never would, but I do this all the time to start new beds and growing areas and it is quite a good lazy way of doing things

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Re: Rotorvating timings

Post: # 276498Post boboff »

Or in a more conventional sense you need to deep plough first to turn the grass 8 - 10 inches below the surface, then rotavate in the spring before planting.

You will get more weeds through the first year, but as your crops dominate and shade out the weeds, they will become less and less.

You could spray with Glysophate first, then wait a month and rotavate, then either spray or raotavate to kill off new growth until you are ready to sow.

Or Mulch.

Or spray and use fabric.

Or did it over by hand with a tiny shovel whilst singing dicksy.

You will always get weeds back mind, it's just how many!

You could always raise all your flowers in pots, then rotavate or just strim really short in the Spring and plant your flowers 6 inches apart, that will soon exclude light, and may well be less work for you in the end?

Good luck, sound like fun.

(one last thought, Pigs or rabbits to clear???)
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Barbara Good
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Re: Rotorvating timings

Post: # 276499Post vancheese »

Great advice! I'm a bit loathed to weedkill, ploughing could be an option
Sadly the pig is in the freezer and there aren't enough rabbits :)
I'll let you know what happens

Andy

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Re: Rotorvating timings

Post: # 276836Post sda »

What brands of spades are durable?

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Re: Rotorvating timings

Post: # 276841Post diggernotdreamer »

I used to sell garden tools so I have a large selection of spades. I had a very expensive spade that was forged in one piece with a cherry wood handle, the wooden handle snapped after not very much work. One of my favourite spades in one made from aluminium with a plastic handle, which I dismissed as crap, but it is in fact brilliant for shovelling stuff out of compost heaps as it is so lightweight so you haven't got the weight of a spade as well. I like my antique spade that has been sharpened up for digging trenches, I don't necessarily think that buying the most expensive is always the way to get the best, but my Spear and Jackson fork has lasted years and I just had a new handle put on it and my Wilkinson Sword shovel is still in good order after years of work and two housebuilds shovelling out rubble and all sorts.

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Re: Rotorvating timings

Post: # 276849Post sda »

Well, I've gone with Spear and Jackson - fingers crossed it will hold up!

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