News from the Good Food Project

Low till or No till

February 21, 2017


Before you are able to get to the fun stuff that is involved with gardening, there is a lot of prep work that takes place.  When the Good Food Project team begins the process of starting up community gardens at new sites using a traditional row-style garden method, the first step we must take is breaking up the ground.  Tilling the soil is often the most strenuous of gardeners' tasks, but luckily for us, we have turned to a sustainable approach known as low-till, or no-till.  Once we have tilled up the ground, we never go back and do it again.  Why?  This approach minimizes soil disturbance which increases its ability to hold onto carbon dioxide.  With no-till, low-till gardening, once the bed is established, the surface is never disturbed.

Conventional gardeners would normally plow up the beds before each planting season, burying the residues from the previous crop and readying the ground for the next one.  Digging into the bed, however, can interfere with the symbiotic relationship that exists between the soil surface and the underlying micro-organisms which contributes to a natural growing environment.  It can also cause soil compaction and erosion, and bring dormant weed seeds to the surface where they will sprout. So instead of churning up the soil, let it its natural state.

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