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No-till Gardening

No-till Gardening
Gardeners traditionally dig, or turn over the top layer of soil before planting to get rid of weeds, and make it easier to use fertilizers and to plant crops. This also speeds up the decomposition of crop residue, weeds and other organic matter. Tilling the soil is often the most strenuous of a gardener’s tasks. A complex, symbiotic relationship exists between the soil surface and the underlying micro-organisms, however, which contributes to a natural, healthy soil structure. Digging into the bed can interfere with this process and disturb the natural growing environment. It can also cause soil compaction and erosion, and bring dormant weed seeds to the surface where they will sprout. With ‘no-till’ gardening, once the bed is established the surface is never disturbed. Benefits of no-till gardening Promotes natural aeration and drainage. Saves water. Thick layers of mulch allow water to pass through easily while shading the soil. Reduces or eliminates the need to weed. Saves time and energy.

http://eartheasy.com/blog/2009/01/no-till-gardening/

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5 Secrets To A ‘No-Work’ Garden It took over 20 years of gardening to realize that I didn’t have to work so hard to achieve a fruitful harvest. As the limitless energy of my youth gradually gave way to the physical realities of mid-life, the slow accretion of experience eventually led to an awareness that less work can result in greater crop yields. Inspired in part by Masanobu Fukuoka’s book, One Straw Revolution, my family experimented with gardening methods which could increase yields with less effort. Fukuoka spent over three decades perfecting his so-called “do-nothing” technique: commonsense, sustainable practices that all but eliminate the use of pesticides, fertilizer, tillage, and perhaps most significantly, wasteful effort. Here are the strategies we used which enabled us to greatly increase our garden yield, while requiring less time and less work.

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Crop Rotation Guide Crop rotation is a simple procedure that involves not planting the same crop in the same soil for a period of years. Depending on space available, the minimum recommended time is two years, while some gardeners prefer a rotation of up to six years. The purpose is to prevent a build up of pathogens in the soil which can infect and re-infect particular families of plants. Another purpose is that plants absorb different quantities of soil nutrients, and repeated plantings will quickly deplete the soil. Crop rotation therefore allows for a more balanced soil fertility and microbial balance.

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