No-Till Flower Farming

Yes, No-Till Works For Flowers

Here is a current picture of no till flower farming here on Bare Mtn Farm. Yes, we are still practicing the no till methods. Yes, we are still working on improving our soil.  But the most often question we get is, "how do you deal with weeds?". We have found that the less we work the soil with tilling, broadforking or turning the soil; the less weeds seem to sprout and create a problem.  After tarping our rows in occulation, we apply the necessary minerals and a kiss coat(1/2-3/4") of compost and thoroughly irrigate the row to be planted.  Then we plant.

Dianthus

Here is a photo of the close spacing of planted dianthus. We plant many of our flowers at an average spacing of 9x9 on a diamond pattern. This close space planting allows the plants to form a canopy over the soil thus covering up weeds. It also encourages taller flowers as they stretch and muscle for their spot.  We typically do one weeding that takes about an hour and half for a 100 ft row. That is usually is good for the row for this succession. We watch the edges of our beds for creeping grass or a low growing weedy vines that are easily removed. Because we have not disturbed the weed bank in the soil for sometime, we are finding as time moves on less weeds are taking root in our rows.

Dianthus

Here is the Amazon Dianthus growing tall and close to shelter the weeds out.

No-Till Flower Farming

Here is our sedum growing on a fairly close spacing with no weeds in the row. But there is some grass on the edges, that will get scythed and cleaned up.

No-Till Flower Farming

Ageratum growing in a no-till row with very little weeds. It was planted very close in spacing and weeded once by hand and once with a collinear hoe. You can see a row that is tarped below the ageratum that is in preparation for a fall planted columbines and yarrow.

Dusty Miller

We also practice no till flower farming in our hoophouses. Here are very closely planted mini blocks of dusty miller planted in one of our hoophouses. We run a length of tarp along the side of the bed that faces outside of the hoophouse, to keep the weeds from creeping in. Weeding this edge is hard with a hoe or by hand so weed suppression is key here.

Dusty Miller

Same spot and fully grown and harvest-able. No weeds in the row, just tall grass outside the hoophouse.

No Till Flower Farming

We feel we are slowly getting the hang of no till methods, improving our soil and getting weeds under pretty good control. That is a good thing because there is a whole host of other problems that need to be dealt with, like insect control and huge critter control. So there is always something new to deal with, learn from and handle.

So we just keeping planting.....

4 thoughts on “Yes, No-Till Works For Flowers”

  1. Thanks for documenting this great method of farming. I’m a Landscape Designer and I’ve applied no-till techniques in my two acre Trial and Display Garden since reading Ruth Stouts “No Work Garden Book” over twenty years ago. I recommend it to most of my clients, as it’s an ideal procedure to use with perennials, woody shrubs, and trees in mixed plantings. More recently I’ve used a perennial mulch and raked it away to plant annuals among the perennials and woodies, with good success, (in essence this garden is a giant cutting garden with plants in flower over the longest season possible) at a public garden, Memorial Sunken Garden in Shelbyville, IL. http://www.memorialsunkengarden.org After a couple years, of not tilling the weed seed-bank is reduced dramatically and the perennials have canopied to help reduce weed seeds from sprouting. Instead of tarps we use cardboard covered with mulch for new beds and areas that have become very weedy, reducing the mulch as the plants fill in. The need for access to view and maintain the plantings requires pathways but we prefer mulched pathways because of problems with quack-grass (Elymus repens) and other perennial weeds creeping into the beds from the mown paths. Thanks again for spreading the word about no-till.

  2. This post is SO INCREDIBLY HELPFUL!!! My husband and I are building a brand new cut flower business and our preferred method is no-till. We’ve had a hard time finding info from other FLOWER farmers (plenty of veggie growers), so I wasn’t sure if it was even a good approach for flowers. But this post is a breath of fresh air! Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge! I’ve watched every single one of your YouTube videos and we’re big fans : ) Cheers!

  3. Thanks Amy. We intend to keep updating our content on no-till as we progress with using various techniques on the Farm. We have learned so much from the Veggie folks. Be sure to checkout Singing Frogs Farm and Connor Crickmore’s Neversink Farm. Great info on both these farms.

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