|Six Pound Zucchini|
This was grown in a greenhouse that had tomatoes in it last year. When I prepared the garden bed last year I used IMO #4 and bio-char. Then I grew cherry tomatoes. They grew and grew giving plenty of fruits, but eventually became so thick with tomato vines I decided to let them die. To do this I turned off the water thinking they would wilt and perish. No such luck. Three months later the plants were still thriving with NO WATER. This amazed me, and my only explanation is that the IMO's have the ability to extend the surface area of the roots so that they could get water from outside the greenhouse.
So this year I did NOT TILL. To prep the bed I just put a thin layer of IMO#4 over the bed, a layer of chipped sugar cane, and topped that with a thin layer of grass clippings to protect the IMO's from the sun. I planted tomatoes ( large kind) and a few zucchini plants on March 1, 2011. It is now March 29th and the plants are cranking. The zucchinis are harvestable (see picture) and the tomatoes have flowered and are beginning to have small fruits. Not tilling preserves the soil structure and allows air flow deep down into the earth. It does not disturb the micro-organisms. This is LIVING SOIL.
My plan is to remove the zucchini plants after they show signs of getting powdery mildew, and just grow tomatoes there. I cut off all the new shoots on my tomato plants except the terminal ends. The plants will get very long, perhaps thirty feet or so in length doing this method. I'll just direct them around the greenhouse like a merry-go-round. In theory each plant should produce 2 pounds (4 fruits) every ten days. If they perform anything like the zucchini, I should have plenty.