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.
Related: Homesteading Garden