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Fall Tilling

By Contributor ; Updated September 21, 2017

see also: Green Manure Crops

Fall is a good time to till your garden soil, especially if there is sod to be turned under. This will reduce erosion, expose heavy soils to frost, kill exposed insects, aid the decay of organic matter, and enable earlier planting. Work in any organic matter you have available when you till. If you do this every fall you will find that your garden takes less time and work to prepare every year. It's best to wait until spring to fertilize, but the addition of granular (not pulverized) lime in the fall will help condition the soil for spring planting.

Organic material that can be tilled into the soil in autumn:

Never work wet soil
, especially clay. You may ruin the soil structure for the entire season and end up with solid, sun-baked clods. Use these guidelines to determine if your soil is dry enough to till:

  • If you pick up a handful of soil and can squeeze water from it, it's obviously too wet.
  • If the soil compresses into a ball and stays that way, it needs more drying time.
  • If it is dry enough to crumble in your hand, it is "friable" and is ready to be worked.

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