Thursday, September 10, 2009

No Till Gardening

Hello again,

I found this article via BloominKrazy who we follow at The article was found at and is called No-Till Gardening.

The article is not a long one and does not lay out how to do No-Till Gardening. Well, No-Till Gardening simply means to me that you lay organic matter like compost on top of your soil in late fall or early spring and DO NOT till it in and DO NOT even turn it in into the soil because this activity will break up the microenvironment in the soil. This is not a new idea but the idea has gained quite a bit of steam lately. I am formerly from the rototill and "turn the soil in" crowd but I have to admit this concept makes a great deal of sense to me. So I support No-Till Gardening although I am sure better gardeners than me may well have a different take.

Here is the article:

"Question: What is the reasoning for no-till gardening?

Answer: There are multiple factors that have brought this method of farming and gardening to popularity. No-till gardening started with agriculture visionary Fukuoka Masanobu in 1938 with his natural farming experiments. The concept is basically to feed the soil in an accelerated manner by retaining organic matter and adding more to the surface of the soil.

The rationalization and reasoning for these techniques has increased to help prevent excessive soil, water, wind, fertility and carbon erosion, of which soil tillage is a major contributor. Plow-based farms can lose almost 20 times more soil seasonally than no-till farms. These no-till techniques are easily transferred to the yard and garden, helping retain moisture and fertility.

The process of tilling spreads bindweed, some thistles and some grasses. It also can destroy soil structure that soil organisms work to build. Other detrimental effects of repeated tilling is a formation of hardpan, which drastically reduces water penetration, increases nutrient run-off and might stress plant roots.

By practicing this method, you might notice a marked increase in worm populations working high in the soil surface.

If no-till gardening interests you, fall is a great time to dedicate part of your garden to this technique.

John Anderson is a Larimer County master gardener."

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
September 10, 2009

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