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I am trying to decide what exactly I need. I'm planning on having a couple different plots maybe 50'X50' for planting all different kinds of fruits/vegetables. I have a 1025R. From what I've read it seems like I need something to break up the soil then go back with a tiller for planting. The ground is mostly clay with some small rocks (1-1.5" diameter max). Not this year but in the future I'll also be spreading compost/manure throughout. It seems like what may be best is a subsoiler like this: https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/countyline-subsoiler and also a tiller: probably a 48" something like this: https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/countyline-rotary-tiller-4-ft?cm_vc=-10005
Is that the best for prepping for planting? Or am I missing something better? My dad recomended this: https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/countyline-medium-duty-disc instead of a tiller, but from what I've read it's similar to the subsoiler in that I use it first, then I still need the tiller.
 

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I use a single bottom plow and tiller for my garden, and I have heavy clay soil. Granted I don't have a 1025r but the principal is the same.
 

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I’m with your Dad on the disc. A disc slices the ground vertically, but a tiller blade cuts the ground horizontally. So the disc is less disruptive to the soil substructure than the churning action of the tiller blades. On the other hand, the tiller may be more effective at adding soil amendments to your clay bed.
 

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Bottom plow would be best, a middlebuster will work.
The only real up side to a middle is most are a combo, sub & middle tool.
 

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I have found with tractor attachments. You need them all!! And until you have them all you can use what you have and get most jobs done. Meaning tiller works great. A disc would also work a middle buster or subsoiler would break up really hard ground. Or even rippers on a box blade. I’m a fan of a tiller simply because it churns up the ground so well. It’s hard to beat. And a middle buster is nice for potatoes or laying out your garden. My garden Arsenal includes a tiller, a cultivator, a garden bedder, and a middle buster. Not much I can’t get done with these 4 items.


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A subsoiler will slice through the ground going 12"-14" deep. If you run back and forth over a garden plot it will essentially cut things up into big chunks. But it won't leave you with a workable garden bed.

A disc will break up the top few inches of ground into small chunks. It won't dig as deep as a subsoiler and will leave you with bigger chunks than a tiller.

A tiller will generally go down 5"-6" and will leave you with a powder for a garden bed.
 

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I am trying to decide what exactly I need. I'm planning on having a couple different plots maybe 50'X50' for planting all different kinds of fruits/vegetables. I have a 1025R. From what I've read it seems like I need something to break up the soil then go back with a tiller for planting. The ground is mostly clay with some small rocks (1-1.5" diameter max). Not this year but in the future I'll also be spreading compost/manure throughout. It seems like what may be best is a subsoiler like this: CountyLine Subsoiler, SUB at Tractor Supply Co. and also a tiller: probably a 48" something like this: https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/countyline-rotary-tiller-4-ft?cm_vc=-10005
Is that the best for prepping for planting? Or am I missing something better? My dad recomended this: CountyLine Medium Duty Disc at Tractor Supply Co. instead of a tiller, but from what I've read it's similar to the subsoiler in that I use it first, then I still need the tiller.
It all depends on the level of prep that you want. A subsoiler just makes big rips in the ground, breaking up compacted earth. A middlebuster will make a wider rip and minimally turn over the earth, but it doesn't go as deep as a subsoiler (also called a 'ripper'). IMO, a middlebuster is the least useful for initial prep; it works best to make deep furrows, or to dig up buried material and is a great potato harvesting tool. A turning plow (bottom plow or moldboard plow) cuts the soil horizontally at a depth you can control, and the moldboard turns the slice of earth over, effectively burying whatever was on top. Those are your initial prep tools.
A disc is a medium prepping tool, it will cut soft, less compacted soil that hasn't been ripped or plowed, but is a better tool for taking plowed ground to the next level. It cuts big chunks into smaller chunks, and repeated passes can make the ground very nice for planting, but it doesn't do as fine a job as a tiller. A rotary tiller is a fine prep tool, it macerates plowed or disked ground, and cuts up vegetable matter to a very fine consistency and can do it as deeply as the plow can cut . A tiller is less suitable for initial prep of hardpan, or ground where there are known roots or large rocks.
You have to decide just how fine you want to go, and consider the plot you plan to plant. If it has never been tilled, you should consider ripping it, to break up the compaction, as well as tearing and breaking buried roots. If the ground has been previously plowed but has lain fallow, then a plow would be the way to go, then either disc it several times, or till it a couple of times. Then lay off your rows and plant.
The tiller is the only one of the implements that requires PTO power; all the rest are simple drag tools. My garden has been maintained for well over 35 years, of which 27 have been done by me. All I use is a single bottom plow and a rotary tiller to prep the plot. I dump grass clippings, leaves and stall cleanings on the garden after the garden has been harvested, and then before the first freeze, I plow it under and leave it until Spring, and then I might plow again and then till, or just till a couple of times without plowing. Also with my Spring prep, I put 1000-1200 lbs. of lime down to help neutralize the pH of the leaves and urea from the stalls, but I've never needed to fertilize because of the composted material I plow under in the Fall.
 

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I use a subsoiler to break up hardpack. With repeated crisscross passes I can get chunks around 1 ft square. Then I use my discs to break those up enough for planting. Discs are more picky then a tiller as for how moist the ground is. But if you time it right and work it a bit, you can get it as turned up about as good as a tiller would.

I inherited the subsoiler and discs. If I was buying new, I’d get a plow instead of the subsoiler, that way I could easily turn under old growth so it composts and doesn’t regrow. As for a tiller vs disc, that’s harder to decide. If you want the garden to start up against a fixed boarder, then you want a tiller. With discs it kinda fades in the boarder. I’d probably stick with discs. The tiller will turn the dirt into a powder so easy, and that will then hard pack around everything mid-summer. With the disc I can choose how fine I want it churned up. I’ve been slowly tending towards letting it have larger chunks come planting.


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I’d break that subsoiler. What kind of clay you got? Brown or blue grey? How dense is it? Your gonna need to amend it anyways being clay but it’ll plant with some planting soil tilled in first, then manure.
 

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The wife isn't gonna like hearing that multiple implements are better than one!
That, or she'll love the idea. Different strokes for different folks.

:eek:
 

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Also with my Spring prep, I put 1000-1200 lbs. of lime down to help neutralize the pH of the leaves and urea from the stalls, but I've never needed to fertilize because of the composted material I plow under in the Fall.
FYI, if you burn wood and organic material, the ash will raise the PH of your soil too.
 

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For me a tiller hands down, , I also have a middle buster middle buster - Google Search . Great for planting and digging potatoes.

No need for 10 or 12" plow, disc or harrow.
 

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For small garden stuff, a tiller is the way to go. It's an all in one tool.

A subsoiler is meant to break up the deep hardpan and help with drainage, to allow roots to grow deeper and not get saturated. It's not really a tillage tool.
A moldboard plow will require a second tool to break up the laid over rows, such as a disk.
 

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Just a word of caution with clay based soils. (which I am also blessed with). Try and keep soil cultivation to a minimum, especially when the soil is on the moist side. Cultivating at the wrong time can turn your soil into concrete. Over cultivation, even when the soil is at optimum dryness, tends to break down the soil sub structure and that you want to try and avoid. Don't get me wrong, I am not a no till or zero till zealot, but once your ground is broken to a level that you can plant successfully, keep the tillage to a minimum.
Repeated tillage with with any type of cultivator, especially tillers, can develop plow pan, which severely restricts soil drainage and root development.
I have run a commercial market garden for over 30 years and have seen the devastation and degradation of clay based soils from improper practices.
 

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The wife isn't gonna like hearing that multiple implements are better than one!
[/QUOTE]
It’s brown clay. Pretty dense. Panhandle of Texas.
I would cast another vote for the tiller, that's what they do, they are designed to make a nice seed bed. A subsoiler is a cheap add on, so that is the way I would go if I had to limit myself, a subsoiler for opening up the ground underneath for drainage and root growth and a tiller for making the final seed bed.
 

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It’s brown clay. Pretty dense. Panhandle of Texas.
As a former resident of OK who lived right on the TX panhandle border, whatever you're getting, I'd suggest you get it fast! 🤣

I moved down there in June. Went to have a satellite dish installed on a post out in the back yard shortly afterwards and they had to bring out a jackhammer to break up enough ground to set the post. Once things heat up that clay turns in to concrete!
 

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FYI, if you burn wood and organic material, the ash will raise the PH of your soil too.
What few ashes I collect goes in the garden, but I don't burn enough wood to make it an alternative to lime for pH control. My garden is 95x85 feet, it would take quite a bit of wood ashes.

If I had a choice of only one implement for gardening, it would be a tiller, properly sized for the plot. For a garden the size of mine, a walk-behind could be used, but it would take a couple of hours to make one lap and the till quality would be poorer than the 50" tiller I use behind the tractor, and I can till in about 20 minutes with it and get a well-prepared plot.
If I were prepping a much larger area, say twice what I have, a disc would become more appealing, since you can pull it more rapidly through the ground than you can till.
I'm "blessed" with Southern red clay soil, and I agree, it will turn to concrete in drought. One of the things I've done over the years s to dump as much organic matter as I can in the garden area and blend it well with the clay. This helps keep it from getting hard, it adds nutrients the clay doesn't have, and assists in better drainage. I've never used a subsoiler, but every few years I bury my bottom plow as deep as possible to break up the pan that will still develop about 18-20" down. I can tell when I'm there because the color of the dirt is markedly different from what's on top. All the years of composting have turned the garden plot a deep reddish brown, where the surrounding ground is almost orange.
 
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