No dig method for fluffing soil?

goodt4me(9)April 4, 2013

I am looking for a no dig method to loosen up my soil. This is for my asparagus bed which has a few crowns and newly sprouted asparagus seeds.
I am in Arizona. I did a lot of prep work for this bed but in the last 2 years the soil has just hardened up. Due to the little sprouts it is hard to dig and weed in this area right now. I also have a huge snail nail problem so I think covering everything in mulch would increase the snail population.
Any Ideas?

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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Is sticking a potato fork in the soil and rocking it too invasive? That will help some, but better would be to follow that with a compost mulch.

tj

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 12:22AM
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glib(5.5)

tough problem. Perhaps interplant the asparagus with large rooted plants, such as various feedstock turnips, manger, or sugar beet? then you would have to kill them, it means going around the bed with a small paint brush, giving Roundup only to these biological drillers.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:27AM
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toxcrusadr

I like Glib's idea.

Or dynamite.

Hey, it's not digging... :-]

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:48AM
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glib(5.5)

Or perhaps parsnips, they will get deeper. But you will have to kill them chemically, or the asparagus bed will soon turn into the unextractable parsnip bed. If you do not want to waste edible seeds, plant burdock. You will not have to kill it until next year, and this year it will be a great living mulch.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 1:09PM
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darth_weeder(z7 NY)

I would still mulch and use one of those snail/slug deterents like Escargo, diatomaceous earth or something like it. Mulching heavily is generally the rule with asparagus beds. I put down 3-5 inches of shredded leaves and wood chips each year that disappear into the soil, keeping it moist and soft.
I hope you find a solution that works.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 1:22PM
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goodt4me(9)

Great ideas everyone.

I think maybe I will plant peas, fava beans and flax seed in the area and just let them die to add green manure.

I actually have heirloom parsley seeds that grow a root and the root is what you use for seasoning. Maybe I could just companion plant herbs in the area.

LOl, I can't use diatomaceous earth because I am afraid it will hurt my precious worms.

What does everyone think about using Mesquite Leaves for mulch? I am a little hesitant because I think it might have a negative effect on the soil.

Yes a potato fork would work, I will search the kitchen for usable garden tools.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:29PM
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naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan(5B SW Michigan)

"Yes a potato fork would work, I will search the kitchen for usable garden tools." !!! :) !!!

I'm not sure if this comment is meant to be serious or humorous. My potato or digging fork is a favorite of tool of mine, but it won't fit in any kitchen drawer.

I like the suggestions for maintaining an asparagus bed. I'll try a different approach this year and go heavy on the mulch.

Here is a link that might be useful: Potato fork

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 10:07PM
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achang89(Z6)

No dig = raised bed.

For asparagus, I figure you'll have to dig....

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 10:29PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

What negative effect do you think those Mesquite leaves might have on that soil? The only problem with the soil in Arizona is a lack of adequate organic matter and Mesquite leaves can be a part of that. The Zunis learned how to grow food crops in that area of the world long ago, perhaps looking into how they did that might be of some help to you.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 6:34AM
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greenman62

DE should not bother worms.
i was worried also, and read someone using it in their worm bin

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 2:57PM
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lazy_gardens

What does everyone think about using Mesquite Leaves for mulch? I am a little hesitant because I think it might have a negative effect on the soil.

Excellent mulch! Collect the "duff" (the leaves and the main stems) and spread it thickly OVER your drip system.

Part of your "it's getting hard" may be the lack of mulch in that bed. If you are watering under the mulch it doesn't attract snails as much as if you have lots of damp vegetation on top.

=========
Kimmsr ... Why do you drag the Zunis into the solution every time someone west of the Mississipi and south of Denver (or in any arid place) has a question? It's like your version of one size fits all pantyhose.

FYI ... The Zuni live a couple hundred miles, a state line (not even Arizona), 4,000 feet higher in altitude, and several climate zones away from the OP's asparagus beds. With totally different soil chemistry.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 3:20PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

lazygardens asked, "Kimmsr ... Why do you drag the Zunis into the solution every time someone west of the Mississipi and south of Denver (or in any arid place) has a question? It's like your version of one size fits all pantyhose."
I don't.
However there are many that believe we can learn something from the past, and that maybe the agricultural practices of the Zunis might be something to learn from.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 6:23AM
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lazy_gardens

One could equally learn from the Aztecs, Mixtecs, Maya, Havasu and O'odham

For low desert AZ, the O'odham methods work better.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 12:54PM
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toxcrusadr

There are allelopathic leaves, but I have not heard of mesquite being one of them, and I know of no reason not to use them. If there is some credible evidence to the contrary, by all means, ignore my advice because I've never lived in mesquite country.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:49PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Good, I've had an aspy bed for about 6-7 years. We have raised beds, lined with hardware cloth, due to gophers being abundant in the area!
I would just keep adding more and more compost to the beds (I add spring and fall, depending on how much compost I have). It shrinks down as it composts, giving the ground much more nutrients!
Or you can dig some trenches or holes to bury your kitchen waste.
Good luck! Nancy

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 9:29PM
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