Thursday, April 29, 2010

No More Tilling For Me

After tilling my garden a few times my clay soil was so bad last year that I hardly got any food from my garden. I was quite distressed to see that the soil was cracked and hard and I began to worry. Yes, I know it sounds strange to some of you but I would lay awake at night worrying about my soil and how I would produce food for my family. I decided that I would do as others have done, and I began to cover my soil with all the leaves from my yard. I made paths of mulch and covered the rest of the garden with straw. When I need to plant I push aside the straw and plant the plants that I want to, then I cover it back up with straw. No tilling doesn't mean no digging. I still have to dig deep holes for my tomatoes and other plants but I am not tilling the entire garden. I am already seeing the results. When I went to put in plants my soil is full of earthworms. Last year that wasn't the case. I know it will take a few years, but I can wait and in the meantime I add composted manure and humus to the areas that I am planting to help things along. Do you till? Maybe you should try a small speck of your garden without tilling and compare the results.
I suggest reading:
Lasagna Gardening

Square Foot Gardening

Organic Gardening The Natural No Dig Way


Anonymous said...

Hey Shelley, I just read this post and wanted to tell you I actually add newspaper as well, underneth the straw in the walking aisles. Newspaper actually attracts the earthworms to and is good compost and the straw will hold it down until it begins to rot. It is freeing not to till as well! I am reading a great book called "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible" by Edward C. Smith. I've gotten some great ideas from it including wide raised beds in my garden, instead of compact rows which has worked amazing! Check it out sometime!

April said...

We started our first square foot garden this year. I did just a few plants, normally have a traditional acre sized garden. So far I am impressed and plan to add to it next year.

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Bounty and blessings!