BCS Tillage Methods and Implement Choice
Deep Tilled Raised Beds - 12-15 hours/acre
Using the Berta Rotary Plow allows you to till to a depth of 10" - 12" while at the same time building raised beds. The system is creating 48" beds with a 24" to 30" pathway between beds. This is optimal for most people to reach the centre of the bed from each side while allowing space to kneel when transplanting and moving harvesting bins without disturbing crops in the adjacent bed. The plow will build the beds regardless of whether your land is sod or previously tilled. You will end up with flat topped 5" - 6" high beds.
Raised Beds - 6-8 hours/acre
Starting with tilled soil, use the Rotary Plow to move the soil from the pathways onto the growing bed. This is a faster process which creates 3" - 4" raised beds. You can then complete the tillage using the Rinaldi Power Harrow. This produces an optimal bed ready for direct seeding or transplanting.
Power Harrow Tilled Beds - 4 hours/acre
Growers that have perviously tilled soil can simply create the ultimate growing bed by using the Power Harrow. This tool "stirs" the soil to a maximum depth of 5" without "mixing" all soil layers together. When using a typical rototiller mixing occurs bringing all the weed seeds from the lower layers up to the top to germinate and this can create a hard pan layer while pulverizing the soil structure. This is very problematic in terms of weed management. The power harrow maintains proper soil structure and the rear mesh roller firms the bed. Regardless of what bed preparation method you are using this is an ideal way to finish your growing beds.
Starting with Sod and Heavy Vegetative Top Growth
Growers that are starting out with land that has been abandoned for a number of years are best served by mowing with the Berta Flail Mower first before tilling with the Rotary Plow and Power Harrow. The Flail Mower mulches all the old top growth allowing easy incorporation into the soil and a quickler breakdown of the materials.
This is a highly effective method for weed control especially valuable for Certified Organic Growers. This technique requires that you do your final bed preparation tillage 3 to 4 weeks prior to seeding or planting into the bed. This allows enough time for weeds to germinate and grow 1 to 2 inches tall. Then just before direct seeding or transplanting seedlings into the bed, you flame weed. This will kill the weeds without disturbing the soil which brings more weed seeds to the surface. Planting into the bed provides you with 4 weeks of plant growth advantage before the next round of weeds germinate. The crop growth provides shade for the emerging weeds slowing their growth. Stale bedding reduces the number of in-bed weedings most often down to a single operation.
Using Plastic Mulch
Another highly effective tool for growers including Certified Organic Growers is using plastic mulch. You can purchase rolls in different widths, lengths and colours. Coloured mulches have additional production boosts above just water conservation and weed control. We have used black, white and highly reflective silver poly mulches (wear sunglasses) with great success for specific crops