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Old 12-15-2010, 12:48 PM
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HEY MOgal good luck on your gardening journey. Being in the landscape business I would recommend a rear tine hydraulic tiller for that big an area. It will last a long time and stand up to a lot of abuse. I would also recommend ripping the area of the future garden with a small tractor first if you can get one into your area. A small tractor could also make short work of you tilling needs and really work the ground deep.

For a walk behind tiller I recommend the Barreto.
Barreto Manufacturing | Tillers, Trenchers and other powerful tools

I have been using them for years and not had any issues.

Also however you decide to compost, yes everyone has a favorite recipe, I would recommend you mulch/shred your leaves for faster composting. Air, water and heat are key to a good compost pile. Plenty of books on that.
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Old 12-18-2010, 08:57 PM
Location: NC, USA
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I have a good brand name rear tine tiller, it has lasted me for the last ten years and I suspect it will last more. Each spring I take it to my local mechanic and have him give it the once over. $10.00 tops for the look/see, he never finds anything wrong but I check anyway. My garden is about 1/4 acre, it feeds us quite well, and our neighbors, and friends, the people at my bank and the folks at the local Southern States and our favorite Mexican restaurant. My theory is, "I am supposed to subsist on a diet of TOMATO SANDWICHES for at least 3 straight months each year. Of course the corn, Onions, squash-(about 4 varieties), Broccoli, Cabbage, Cantalopes, Sugar Baby Watermelons, Garlic, Carrots, Cauliflower, 3 varieties of lettuce, Okra, Cucumbers et al, just make my diet more well rounded. Being an omnivore is great!
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Old 12-23-2010, 01:08 PM
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Tilling too much is, depending on who you talk to, one of the main reasons the US blew (pun intended) through it's topsoil. Tilling too little means compact dirt, PITA planting, and less-than-ideal growing conditions. So really the best answer for your garden is "it depends." Sounds to me like you already know what you're doing (at least in theory, which is how everybody starts... I'm only a MO garden year ahead of you myself!), just follow your instincts. If the soil is compacted and hard to dig in, the plants will find it equally distressing as your spade. Till er' up! Just don't buy into the BigAg "aerate before every crop!" approach, or you'll watch your garden plot sink slowly into the ground around it from erosion. Can't hardly go wrong with tilling sparingly, intensive rotation planting, and cover crops in the winter. Good luck!

Oh, and you probably already know about this place, but just in case you don't, if you haven't checked out Baker Creek Seeds (it's south of Lebanon, Bakersville, just shy of Mansfield on SR 5) I highly recommend it. I get all my seeds from them, heirlooms, and they have some very unique ones! Their watermelons are amazing. Just ask my dog...
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