The no till gardening method requires a shift in thinking. For thousands of years people have thought of gardening as requiring the breaking up of the soil.
First of all, think about this. Farmers plant their grain crops in soil that is not tilled until after harvesting. No-till during the growing season but yet, vegetable gardeners constantly till their gardens during the growing season.
So, let's compare the tilling versus the no till gardening method.
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So, what does tilling actually do to the soil versus a no till gardening method?
The common thinking is that tilling will not eliminate, but help to control weeds, giving the desired plants more room and nutrition to grow faster and bigger.
Also tilling is used to blend nutrients or other soil-enhancing agents into the earth.
So, if we could control weeds without tilling, that would be a result most gardeners would be happy with.
Also, there is a balance to be reached when trying to enhance growing but also enhancing the soil at the same time. The exception for tilling is when you are breaking up new land such as grassland, or forest land that has been cleared of growth to make it available for gardening.
Regular tilling is hard on the soil. The soil has a natural balance just like our digestive systems have a natural balance of good/bad organisms.
Tilling upsets this balance slightly by exposing these organisms to oxygen and killing them. There are bacteria and fungi as well as other ingredients that make soil particles stick together, that are damaged by tilling the soil. The soil can recover from this assault on micro-organisms just as our bodies can, but the constant abuse lowers the growing ability of the soil over time.
Also, artificial fertilizers upset this natural balance even more, which is why organisms that cause food poisoning and even death, are occurring in foods grown in soil where this imbalance is occurring.
This food poisoning was not a problem years ago when natural methods of farming were used, but the soil imbalance is slowly getting worse due to modern farming methods.
You can read more about this soil micro-organism imbalance on this page.
Check here for a book telling you all you need to know about no till gardening.
The book is called "The Living Soil Handbook."
The three main principles of the no till gardening method are:
No till gardening is focused on building up the health of the soil, whereas, modern farming practices slowly wear out the soil, turning it into wasteland.
A wasteland where the only things that grow in the end are unhealthy, low production crops in worn out, toxic soil. Soil that is low in friendly micro-organisms is soil that is ready to breed disease causing organisms, causing food poisoning and even death.
No till doesn't mean you can't use tools on the land, but that you use them only in circumstances that enhance the soil health.
No till gardening is a self-sustaining method of growing where the gardener and the soil can enhance each other's efforts.
The Living Soil Handbook is focused on natural growing principles for growing bigger, tastier vegetables with a no till gardening method.
It's a method of building up the soil instead of breaking it down and a method of disturbing the soil as little as possible.
The no till gardening method (The Living Soil Handbook) is focused on the soil-building benefits of soil microorganisms and doing the things that encourage these micro-organisms.
No till gardening is a part of permaculture gardening and a permaculture lifestyle. Permaculture refers to a way of living and thinking, not just a way of gardening.
You efforts won't fix everything the first year. Some gardeners get frustrated with all the weeds that come in their first year of transitioning to no till methods.
But that is normal - don't give up.
When soil is out of balance, the soil will then grow the plants it needs and the plants that nature has available to try to build up the soil again. What you call weeds is just nature doing its job to try to re-establish a natural soil nutrient and good bacteria balance.
With some effort, you can help to re-establish that balance in your favor with methods that grow the type of garden you want to grow keeping weeds at a minimum.
You can use these weeds to your advantage.
If you can put up with it, let the garden go for a year. Take advantage of nature’s ability to give the soil what it needs without much work on your part.
Check on your garden once a week, chopping the weeds and letting them lay and dry. This is a very important step! Chop the weeds before they are ready to drop seeds, or the weeds will be dropping seeds all over your garden.
The chopped-and-dropped weeds will fertilize the soil as they decompose. Their decaying roots will feed beneficial micro-organisms to the soil.
You can learn all you need to know here about the no till gardening method here and building up your soil naturally.
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The Living Soil Handbook - All you need to know about natural gardening and building up your soil to maximum natural fertility.