We decided to put in a new garden plot on the farm. It was an obvious location for a garden, situated between a pasture and an existing garden and is sloped in a way that should make drainage easy. After digging a trench to test a spot to make sure it wasn't sitting on an old road or leach field, I borrowed a chisel plow from a friend and got to work:
Step 1: Make an initial pass with the chisel plow to break up sod
The chisel plow is a great way to get deep tillage and break up hard soil. After marking the four corners of where I want the new garden to be, I started plowing in the middle and worked my way towards the edges.
Step 2: Make secondary passes with the chisel plow to loosen lower levels of soil
It took several back and forth passes with the chisel plow to pull up the sod. After the initial layer of sod was pulled up I noticed the chisel plow could sink deeper into the soil. This will help to keep the soil easy to work in the future and allow us to grow beautiful root crops like beets and carrots.
Step 3: Use walk behind tiller to break up grassy clods and level loosened soil
Its a bit cumbersome at first to go over all the uneven terrain with the walk behind tiller, but after the initial pass it became much easier. And its rewarding to watch as the massive grassy clods slowly disappear and the garden takes shape.
Step 4: Spread cover crop
We chose to use oats as our cover crop this year. Oats will winter die, meaning we won't be fighting them as weeds as we're tilling in the spring. Overall I was very pleased with the new garden's soil composition. It doesn't have the massive clay clods that we had with our primary garden that we tilled two seasons ago. I think it'll produce very well.