Some of you are probably wondering “no till” ooookay. The sound of it actually seems counter productive right? I thought so too. When you think of preparing your field or garden bed one of the first things you think of is ” I need a rototiller.” Once you have your spot and the tiller, you work back and forth until you achieve that perfect soft soil. No weeds, no clumps, looks and feels great. However is it really? Sure, for hundreds of years we have produced thousands acres of crops with this method but what if we can produce a better more abundant crop? Sounds perfect right. More land, more machinery, more help, more seed, more fertilizer, more tilling…..blah blah blah. I am usually hesitant to jump up on the soapbox…..so excuse me while I climb up.
The reasons I chose to go with the no till method are these….First of all I wanted to try and grow super healthy blooms. We have pretty harsh seasons here in Minnesota. Super cold winters and where I live really hot summers. Second I do get a little nerdy about organic things…tend to lean towards them. Third, money. A new rototiller is just not in the budget. Forth, want to streamline the process since It is only me and a little helper. Fifth what if it works….
What I have been learning
I have to admit one thing. When I first started my beds I did use a tiller. I have a small mini mantis tiller which I think I have had for about 10 years.. still works. Even tho I do hope nobody watches me start it because I know it is a scene. So that was the only time I tilled, which Connor Crickmore from neversink farm says is ok.
When you till the soil your are making it easier to plant. Those of you who like to till, please feel free continue no offence taken. However tilling disrupts the life in the soil. So when you see the birds following the tractor….yes they are eating all the worms and bugs that are overturned and therefor do not make it back into the soil to do their thing.
If you can leave the soil in tack then these guys can do their work and essentially till the soil for you.
Making it workable
Making the soil workable and keeping the weeds at bay are helped by using tarps and black landscape fabric. I use a pitchfork to fork the soil. Not turning it but just loosening it. Next is scuffing the top layer of the soil on the beds and adding my organic fertilizers etc then cover the rows with black landscape fabric. I covered my in between rows with fabric initially because I made the rows to narrow to get my mower in between. Low and behold it totally helped with my weed control. Covering the soil also helps with erosion. I am excited to see how my flowers do this coming season.
I will keep you updated on my progress here and let you know what is working for me and what is not. Please if you have anything to add please do so.