The digging machine: tilling the soil without turning

The digging machine: tilling the soil without turning

There spading machine it is a very useful power tool for those who want to do organic farming, because it allows you to work large surfaces while maintaining the natural fertility of the earth.

While the passage of the plow upsets the balance of the soil the spading machine does not decompensate useful microorganisms since it does not turn the clods, this makes it ideal for those who want to use natural methods in cultivation. The digging machine manages to work even when the ground is very wet, which other agricultural machines often fail to do.

The most common spaders are machinery dedicated to the professional farmer, to be used with the tractor as a tractor. They also exist small power spades or spaders to be applied to the walking tractor, also called motovanghe, useful for working the soil in the greenhouse, on the cliffs or between the rows and more suited to the needs of those who cultivate the vegetable garden. The type of work that this motorized tool carries is very useful in particular in heavy and clayey soils.

How the digging machine works

The working method of the spading machine takes up the concept of the manual spade: the blade enters the ground vertically and splits the clod, separating it by cutting from the soil sole. Depending on the model, there are tools set up to more or less chop the earth, even coming to present it leveled and ready as a seedbed.

This type of agricultural machine consists of a horizontal axis, to which several blades are connected from spades that enter the ground alternating constantly and continuously. Diggers in general they connect to the power take-off a tractor in the case of professional models, or a two-wheel tractor in the case of smaller machines. There are also motovanghe, or small digging machines with their own engine, suitable for those who want to cultivate the vegetable garden without having to use the plow.

The first spading machine is built by the Gramegna brothers in 1965, the year in which it is presented as an innovative machinery at Fieragricola di Verona, since then the mechanisms have been perfected and this agricultural machine has spread a lot, the Gramegna company remains a point of reference in Italy and abroad for this type of tool .

Advantages of the spading machine

  • Till without turning the clods (essential in organic cultivation, as we will deepen in the following paragraph).
  • It can also work with wet soils, when the tiller and plow have to stop.
  • It does not create a processing sole.
  • On average, it has lower consumption than a plow of the same depth, because it does not have to move the earth so much.

The flaws in my opinion are two: the first is that the'Plow is more effective for nipping weeds present on the ground, the passage of the digger damages them but often the grass starts again in a short time from the root parts that remain. The second drawback is that it is a complex machine, there is no economic version suitable for those who cultivate small plots.

The power shovels with their own engine cost several thousand euros, the spaders to be applied to the walking tractor are more affordable, even if they remain out of the reach of small family gardens. On the other hand, the complexity of the mechanism also has advantages: the transmission box and joints of many spading machines (for example the aforementioned Gramegna spading machines) are watertight, permanently lubricated, therefore the user it must never intervene with maintenance, reducing the complications compared to a motor hoe equipped with a simple rotary cutter.

Why plow without turning

Gramegna spading machine for two-wheel tractor

Tilling the land is a fundamental operation to be able to cultivate the vegetable garden correctly. In particular, those who cultivate organically must take care of the natural fertility of the soil, which is guaranteed by the microorganisms present. The microorganisms that work correctly process the organic substance, making it available to the plants and avoid rottenness that leads to disease.

Turning the clods like plowing has the contraindication to kill many of these organisms: those that live deeper are anaerobes and suffer if they are brought to the surface, those that are at ground level instead need air to live, so they must not be buried. The plow operates by turning and its passage inevitably upsets the balance.

In addition to this the share of the plow, like the cutter of the motor hoe, hits the ground it works and creates a deep working sole, which can cause problems by compromising water drainage and facilitating stagnation.

So plowing does not necessarily have a positive effect on the soil, those who cultivate organically should avoid doing it, to till the soil is very better to go with a digging machine breaking the clod. This operation can also be done manually using a spade or a digging fork, but it is of course not a viable solution for those who cultivate large areas.


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