How do you plow?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Mountaineer, May 8, 2006.

  1. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    I have a single bottom plow for my little 9N tractor. I'd like to plow a large veggie garden, about 50' x 100' more or less. The ground is soft and easily flipped. The pasture has grown about 2' already, but it's thin.
    Can someone give me an idea how this is done? Like do you do the perimeter first, or start up the middle....?
    I also have a small set of disks, and diamond tooth harrows. I figured the diamond harrow would be done after?
    THANKS, I appreciate any ideas. Very excited to finally get on this.
     
  2. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

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    Is your ground level, or have some slope? If it has slope, plow parrallel to the slope. I have one garden spot with a slight grade to it. I start at the higher elevation side flipping the dirt uphill. You don't want your furrows running up and down with the slope because it will really increase erosion. Assuming you have a right-handed plow (it flips dirt to your right as you plow), start at the right hand side of the area you are getting ready to plow. You'll come back and make another pass dropping your right rear tire in the furrow you just made with the first pass. Your plowing job will move from right to left. It's pretty easy and best thing to do is practice a little. I have a rototiller for my tractor now, but I have noticed that the tiller makes the dirt so fine that it compacts really bad over the course of the summer. In my particular soil plowing/ disking leaves my garden looser because there are enough dirt clods remaining to keep the soil from packing so tight.
     

  3. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you plaw it like you mentioned keep in mind that there will be an empty furrow where you finish. (dead furrow) If you start on the sides, it will be in the middle. if you start in the middle, there will be one on each side.
    If you plant your rows the short way of the garden, you would have to cross the middle dead furrow if you start plowing on the sides. To keep it level every year, you can start on one side and back up to where you started, plowing the whole garden the same direction. Takes a little longer but you will only have one dead furrow, and it will be along the side of the garden. The next year you can start by plowing the dead furrow shut, throwing all the dirt the opposit direction from the year before.
     
  4. johnghagen

    johnghagen Well-Known Member

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    Disk it up first if it was pasture,To cut up the sod or it will just roll it over.I plow down both sides and have a dead forrow down middle
     
  5. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A problem you may encounter when you are starting out would be the plow not going in the ground like it should. The major reason for this is the plow point is not angled downward enough. To correct that with your plow, just shorten the top link going back to the plow.
     
  6. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the help!
    Is this right then - if I were to start at the right, do one pass, then drive around and then plow another pass, and so forth? Seems like a lot of driving and not a lot of plowing, though I did ask about plowing a tiny patch.
    Keeping the right wheel in the furrow should be easy enough.
    I was considering going over the whole thing with a brush cutter (hand held, no attachment yet) and just scalping the future veggie patch so that nothing gets tangled and no seedheads get left on the surface.
     
  7. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I plow small plots and do it like my grandfather did on his real tractor on a real farm :)
    Plow one furrow down the middle of the plot, turn around and plow down as close to it as you can in the other direction - with a right-hand plow make a right hand u-turn and both mounds will be alongside each other in the center of the bed. Now you can plow both sides as above - right rear wheel in the furrow. This gives you the 2 dead furrows on the edges, but I like that for keeping the grass etc. out of the bed and when you disk, harrow etc, it is less noticable.
     
  8. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That is one way to plow a small long skiny plot.

    However, when you get to the other end of the field, drive over to the 'left' side of the field, and plow a stripe down that side? You will then be making 'rounds' and the 2 stripes will meet inm the middle. Will only take 1/2 as long to plow, & far less soil compacting as you are not driving empty.

    This will leave a field with a slight bump on the right & left sides, and a slight dip - or dead furrow - down the middle.

    Next year, you plow by starting in the middle, filling in the dead furrow, and 2 small dead furrows on the left & right side - where the humps are.

    Over the decades, this keeps your field level.

    Setting up a plow can be an adventure. Any paint or rust at all on the bottom & it will not plow well unless you can start in dry sand. Dirt will stick to it rather than slide. Heavy oil or grease is commonly used to protect a plow between uses.

    The very first round, when the tractor is level & the plow is tilted, can be a little difficult as well. Once the tractor is in a furrow then things are 'normal' angles and works better. You will need to fiddle with the leveling crank on your tractor for that first round, to angle the plow down 6" or so on the right side of the plow.

    The plow should pull behind the tractor on it's own, you shouldn't need stablizer bars. The width of cut is adjusted by moving the plow left or right. The angle of attack is adjusted with the top link. Some plows have a lever to adjust the side to side angle so you don't have to use the tractor's leveling crank. Problem is changing any one thing affects the others, so takes some fiddling to get it set up right. Once set, the plow will work well with that tractor year after year.

    If the plow share (bottom cutting edge, usually replaceable part on a good newer plow) is worn down, you many not be able to get the plow to bite into the ground, esp dry ground. Replace the share if it is worn. Sometimes it 'looks good' but is actually the tip worn down.

    --->Paul
     
  9. papaw

    papaw Well-Known Member

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    If you use one of these new roto tillers behind the tractor, do you still need to plow before hand? and if so ... do you need to break it with a plow each year or will once do it for the tiller? if you keep it tilled each year .....
     
  10. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Depends on the soil Papaw, heavy clays or clay loam like I have and it will need the plow first really. I can just run the tiller right into decades old sod and it will work but its hard on everything and slow. How much veggie matter is on top matters too. I just tilled my garden with sparse sod and the tiller ripped it up fine. Three passes and its ready for seed now. If it had chopped corn stalks on top and the tiller would wrap it's self with the stalks.
     
  11. papaw

    papaw Well-Known Member

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    Thanks,
    so it'd be best to plow first and then use the tiller. I was wondering if I only needed to purchase one or the other.
     
  12. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

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    I have two garden spots that I keep in the same place year after year. Those I can use just the tiller and it works fine. I'm still going to plow it up about every third year because the layer under where the tiller churns it up gets really compacted after time. A plow will go deeper than the tiller and break up that compacted layer, plus a plow will turn weeds under a lot deeper which helps keep them at bay in my opinion. I don't use chemical weed killers in my garden.
     
  13. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    OK, please critique this! AND NO LAUGHING PLEASE. I tried to drive straight and it wasn't easy. Was a real work out.
    Remember, this is a 1941 9N, so you can't go slower than first with any power. The plow went too deep even on highest setting too.
    It kept bogging down every 10' where I got stuck and needed to back track.

    The grass is about 2' tall for reference. The soil is very fine, and very moist as always.
    Is this even workable? Would dragging over a harrow be god to go or do I need to start over- it's for veggies.
    It would look better if I mowed first, but got way over excited about it all and went for it.Thanks again.........

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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  15. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

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    OK, first thing is to make sure you have the plow hooked up right and you are using draft control, assuming it's in working order on your tractor. Darft control is supposed to keep the plow at and average depth and keep it from burying itself. I have an 8N Ford, and I seem to remember they are set up pretty similar. You'll either have a lever under the seat on the right hand side, or two levers side by side on the right hand side. One lever is for the hydraulic lift, the other is the draft control. For draft control to even work in the first place, make sure your top link is hooked to thew right spot. Behind you seat you'll see a large spring with a spot to hook the top link bar. There may be several holes where you can hook the top link bar, just make sure you have it hooked to the one with the spring. The way it's SUPPOSED to work is if the spring senses heavier pressure (like the plow burying itself) it will automatically raise the lift slightly....as pressure lessens it lowers the lift back down. Don't forget to move the lever to draft control or it wont work either.

    Considering you're using a 9N, it looks from the pics like you got a decent start. I used to use the 8N to plow with so I know what you're exeriencing. Excellent tractors, but they do have limits. Judging from the pics, I've had some of my jobs turn out looking similarly when turning over fresh sod. The harrow won't touch what you have there. Use the harrow after you have it disked down good and then the harrow will get rid of a lot of the leftover clods and rough areas. What I would do is disk it down really good with your disks. You might consider adding some weight to your disks, like concrete blocks or a log. Of course too much weight and your front tractor tires will come off the ground, assuming it's a three point disk. Once you disk it down, consider replowing the same spot, trying not to get your wheels in the same furrows as you did the first time. I've had people tell me you can't plow it a second time in a row. But I've done it and didn't get struck by lightning or arrested by the plow police or anything!

    Also, never make hard turns with your plow in the ground or disk either for that matter. Turning with those kinds of implements creates huge amounts of stress and torque and things can bust really quick. Always raise them up first. You may already know all of this and I'm not a know-it-all, but I've made some of these mistakes and paid a price for it. And as far as critiquing your job, I think you're doing great just by getting on there and take a stab at it. You can't mess up anything that can't be fixed. Later.
     
  16. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    No- everything you're saying is new to me and very appreciated! I'm glad you suggested disks, it makes sense and I'd love to give them a shot and it would clean it up.
    Thanks for all your help on this.
     
  17. papaw

    papaw Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Boonieman,
    I wish there were more general how-to's here. Many of us are so new to this that what seems basic to most is like rocket science to us .... I really appreciate these easy step by step lessons .... I could use them in all aspects of farm life.
     
  18. logbuilder

    logbuilder Well-Known Member

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    Farmer Joe,

    Thanks for starting this thread. I also have a 9N ('42) and was thinking of getting a 2 bottom plow. One of my distant neighbors had one that looked in good condition, heavy duty and could probably be had for < $100. Tempting. My only real need/use would have been for starting new garden areas. Last time I needed to prep new ground (about 1000 sq ft) I used my box blade with the scraper teeth set real deep. Went over it 4 or 5 times. Then tilled it 4 times. Turned out nice. After seeing what your newly plowed ground looked like, I think I'm gonna pass on the plow. The next few passes you'll need to make to further break things up are gonna be rough on both you and the equip. Be careful.

    Robert
     
  19. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

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    Great thread...hard to find practical advice like this these days. Could have used it a few days ago. Started working on an old paddock.

    One question...I was able to break the sod on the first pass but I had some areas which I missed. I disced over what was there then tried to go back to catch those spots but kept fouling the plow / coulter with the sod. Fortunately the area is only 30x30 so I used a little sweat equity and picked up what I could before using the plow again...this time at a right angle from the original pass. Still have some old tree roots to cut out. Is there a better way to fit up a fallow field?
     
  20. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A plow is a one-time operation. Needs some rain & several weeks at least before molboard plowing again. Only works well on solid ground. If the plow didn't do what you wanted, need to either wait a month, or try a different impliment.

    --->Paul