No-till organic gardening

by Stephen
(Modesto, California)

I have not tilled my garden for 6 years. We double crop here with small grain in the winter and vegetables, beans and flint corn in the summer.


When the small grain is harvested, simply return the straw and scatter it. Between the straw, seeds are placed in the damp soil.

I have many times planted corn after the small grain. Contrary to agricultural science, there is no nitrogen draft. Humus forms on top of the soil and it become more and more fertile as the years go one.

Tilling the soil reduces the organic matter that is so important to soil fertility, it also disrupts the various nutrient cycles, especially the nitrogen cycle.

Tilling the soil is a lot of work and why work if you don't have to?

It is worth watching the Emilia Hazelip videos on youtube, she explains the technique clearly.

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Sep 02, 2011
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hmmm
by: Keith (USA)

Let me say right up front that I have not yet looked at the videos, but will shortly.

No till gardening, with surface fruits and vegetables that sounds viable, what type of soil do you have? Mine is a medium clay silt loam that was abused and heavily compacted by the previous care takers. It was a tobacco field surrounded by a very neglected wood lot. I find I actually need to loosen the soil fairly deeply to get earthworms to show up where I need them. Carrots and potatoes along with onions and turnips are the main root crops I grow and need the soil to be very friable for their proper development. The areas I have loosened so far were surprising in that when I turned the soil over with a spade and then roto tilled it the volume of soil nearly doubled. I would like to try the no till, but only after I get the soil to a condition that it accepts rainfall instead of sheeting the rain off down the hillside to where it is lost.

[MEG: TIGHT SOILS CAN OFTEN USE SOME CALCIUM OR GYPSUM TO LOOSEN THEM UP - AN ALBRECHT SOIL TEST IS A GOOD INVESTMENT]

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