Tilling is simply not a long-term game. It provides immediate fertility, but destroys soil life, a source of long-term fertility. It also opens pathways for wind and water erosion, removing a quality top layer of soil and ultimately leaving producers with only an infertile subsoil to work with. When we till or dig up the soil, that natural system is disrupted.
The worms die and exposed soil is being eroded by wind, rain and frost. First, it can create a hardened space under the spikes that can prevent moisture from passing through. This is often referred to as hard soil and creates a garden that cannot remove excess moisture. The benefits of a no-till garden are numerous.
If you want healthier soil, less erosion and runoff, less reliance on fertilizers, and a lot of free time, stop tilling your garden. A no-till garden will save you time, energy and money, and will also promote better plant growth. Tilling the land also has its benefits. It changes soil porosity and texture, incorporates organic matter quickly, and helps plants establish complete root systems quickly.
There is a great deal of debate going on about whether tillage has disadvantages and that is unquestionably true. However, the benefits of tillage may outweigh the disadvantages. A few reasons to cultivate the land can help balance the argument and help you decide which method is right for your garden. In traditional or commercial agriculture, the soil is routinely tilled and turned over after each season and crop.
Farmers do this to break up compacted soil or lumps and prepare them for planting. The problem is that the act of tilling actually aggravates the problem of compaction. Over time, repeated tiles destroy the structure of the floor, leading to an increasingly compact floor, so they “have to till it even more”. If you didn't clean your beds in the fall, get down to business now.
Remove worn out vegetable and annual plants. Chop or crumble and compost debris, unless it's sick or infested. Do not add unhealthy material to the compost pile. A properly functioning heap will produce heat and help pests or diseases to develop and multiply, infest the soil with compost, and spread the problems of previous seasons.
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