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How to Rotorvate

PJLPJL SouthamptonPosts: 11
Can anyone tell me how deep I need to go when rotovating my vegetable plots so as to get the ground ready for planting this years crops. Is there a set depth for all crops or does the depth change for certain crops. Also can anyone tell me what I need in my vegetable patches soil to brake it up as it is like trying to work with concreate.

Posts

  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    edited March 2020
    My rotavator finds it's own level. So I take what I get. Adding sand and organics will help to prevent soil setting like concrete. In my case, adding sand and organics over and over and over, for years on end. I hate my soil. If you want to go deeper, for tatties and hungries you could decide to hand double dig. It is hard work though.

    If you are getting really hard lumps now, going over and over it should eventually break it up, though you can also water it (or wait for a bit of rain). I tend to get a hard baked crust and the tough lumps eventually break down when they get mixed in with damper soil underneath.
  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,469
    Before rotovating I have to dig my soil which is usually done in the Autumn or winter and then rotovated in the spring, the weather rarely plays ball to do it that way so I hardly ever use the rotavotor but when I do it goes about 3 to 4 inches deep I guess, I would think that some agricultural machines are designed to go deeper.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,679
    edited March 2020
    I would say try to avoid rotavating if possible, which can destroy the soil structure and disturb and activate buried weeds, but everyone has a different method, so horses for courses..

    Like Gemma says, you need to work in (ideally with a fork) lots and lots of organic matter - compost, rotted manure, whatever you can get your hands on, dug in over the years. My very heavy clay veg beds are just becoming workable and looser after 3 years of literally piling it on. I don’t add sand, even sharp sand (builder’s sand make it more concrete-like) as I find a small gauge grit makes it freer to work.

    As to how deep, whether digging or rotavating, tricky. I would say 30cm [edit: I meant to say 20cm, 30cm is a bit agricultural!] is more than enough for most veg as the deeper rooted things will find their own way down. I do double dig, to remove the never-ending bindweed, but wouldn’t unless I had to. I still can’t grow long carrots though, which do need a very friable soil. Maybe in another few year’s time!
  • PJLPJL SouthamptonPosts: 11
    GemmaJF said:
    My rotavator finds it's own level. So I take what I get. Adding sand and organics will help to prevent soil setting like concrete. In my case, adding sand and organics over and over and over, for years on end. I hate my soil. If you want to go deeper, for tatties and hungries you could decide to hand double dig. It is hard work though.

    If you are getting really hard lumps now, going over and over it should eventually break it up, though you can also water it (or wait for a bit of rain). I tend to get a hard baked crust and the tough lumps eventually break down when they get mixed in with damper soil underneath.
    Thank you GemmaJF for your comments, I found them very helpful.
  • PJLPJL SouthamptonPosts: 11
    Before rotovating I have to dig my soil which is usually done in the Autumn or winter and then rotovated in the spring, the weather rarely plays ball to do it that way so I hardly ever use the rotavotor but when I do it goes about 3 to 4 inches deep I guess, I would think that some agricultural machines are designed to go deeper.
    Hi barry island, thank you for your comments, I found them very helpful.
  • PJLPJL SouthamptonPosts: 11
    Nollie said:
    I would say try to avoid rotavating if possible, which can destroy the soil structure and disturb and activate buried weeds, but everyone has a different method, so horses for courses..

    Like Gemma says, you need to work in (ideally with a fork) lots and lots of organic matter - compost, rotted manure, whatever you can get your hands on, dug in over the years. My very heavy clay veg beds are just becoming workable and looser after 3 years of literally piling it on. I don’t add sand, even sharp sand (builder’s sand make it more concrete-like) as I find a small gauge grit makes it freer to work.

    As to how deep, whether digging or rotavating, tricky. I would say 30cm [edit: I meant to say 20cm, 30cm is a bit agricultural!] is more than enough for most veg as the deeper rooted things will find their own way down. I do double dig, to remove the never-ending bindweed, but wouldn’t unless I had to. I still can’t grow long carrots though, which do need a very friable soil. Maybe in another few year’s time!
    Thank you Nollie for your comments, I found them very helpful.
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