Tuesday, April 16, 2013

No Till Gardening

No till gardening is an interesting concept but far from new.  It all started with the "dust bowl" back in the 1930's.   Farmers tilled and expanded the fields with the idea that bigger is better and more profitable.  The wind storms came and blew the topsoil away.  After a decade of this disaster, the farmers figured something different had to be done; thus the no till farming.

For example, the corn fields were mowed after the harvest with the stubble remaining and another crop planted in the fields.  I am sure that the farmers rotated their crop and beans or grain may have replaced the corn.

More recently, one fellow in Wheeling, West Virginia, converted a deserted area under an overpass to an organic no till garden for kids.  He even raised free range chickens for eggs and manure.  He didn't want to disturb the soil because houses once stood on this property.  He was afraid that asbestos and lead paint from these buildings may be buried in the dirt.  He created a no till garden by using mulch (pine straw and hay, compost from kitchen scraps etc.)  The project was very successful.

Now, have you heard of raised garden beds?  Have you seen vegetables grown in various size wooden boxes laid out in backyards and community gardens/parks?  You know what I'm writing about?

If I were to have a raised garden contained in a wooden box, the soil underneath it would be undisturbed.  I would collect pine straw and put it in he bottom as a first layer.  Pine straw is slow to decompose.  Then I would add other straw or hay.  If I didn't have any of these natural material, I would buy bales straw from garden centers or farms.  I would use compost from my own pile that I started this spring using organic matters from my kitchen.  If this isn't enough, I'd get some commercial compost from the big box store.  I now would be ready to sow my seeds and put down my vegetable plants in my no till garden.  Voila!


My thoughts and prayers are with the people in Boston, Mass.
Let there by Peace.

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