No tilling?

Our neighbor, Jeff, recommended that we talk to a local nursery about having them come till our garden plot. He said they have a reverse tine tiller which is supposed to get the sod up better. Well, we talked to them about how much it would cost and all that, then finally decided to do it. I let them know and now we are waiting (I’m waiting patiently, Tim not so patiently) for them to call to tell us when they are coming out to till.

In the meantime, we have only built one box for the garden. It’s 4 feet by 4 feet (that’s 1.2 some meters, for you metric users) and is made out of 1″ by 6″ boards. I want to make a bunch more of these, as well as some 1 foot by 4 foot boxes for vertical crops, but we just haven’t had time between building the movable coop, Tim working, and my unwillingness to use a saw. I’m afraid I would cut my fingers off!

So we are waiting for time and tilling. But, now I’m reading more about no till gardening and rethinking the tilling. Here are some of the things I’ve been reading that are making me rethink the tilling:

Raised Bed Trials at From Dirt to Dinner.

Raised Vegetable Garden at No Dig Gardens.

No-till Gardening

No till and raised beds boost yields

No till gardening feeds the soil

No till gardening beds save water and labor

Now, I already knew that tilling isn’t always good. It does break up the soil, but it also exposes anaerobic bacteria to oxygen, thus killing them. Also, what about the worms that are already there? Wouldn’t tilling kill them? It seems like it would, and everyone knows worms are good for the soil. I have been thinking about tilling for a while, but was just too lazy to do the research, I guess. Our neighbor recommended the reverse tine tiller and I figured that was a good idea. Also, in the square foot gardening book I have, he mentions tilling, though I did wonder why you would need to till if you are adding your own soil anyway. Heck, even Mother Earth News recommends tilling eventually.

So I’m thinking maybe we will take the box we built out to the garden area and then lay some cardboard, newspaper, or whatever we can find down and see if it kills the grass. Then we will add soil, compost, leaves. Or something like that! I need to read and think about it more and see what we can find. We don’t have any compost of our own yet, so we might have to buy some. I was thinking of asking the diner in town (the small town near us, not the big town) if they would give me their vegetable trimmings and eggshells to use for compost. As far as mulch, we have an abundance of leaves since we have woods all around us. Also, I do recall reading somewhere that hair trimmings work well as mulch, but of course I can’t remember where I read that. I will ask Marvin, our barber, if I can have the hair trimmings from his shop. I bet he will think I’m weird, but heck it’s free and all I have to do is pick them up.

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2 Responses to “No tilling?”

  1. Susan Says:

    Have you looked at the Lasagna Gardening process from Patricia Lanza?

    Btw, we saw her at the annual U of I Herb Conference in Champaign. It’s a drive for you, but you might enjoy that.

  2. Garden Experiments « A Hippy Girl in the Country Says:

    […] rain and mud, so perhaps this year we will skip the tilling after all. I am really waffling on the issue of tilling, but the weather might be the deciding factor. If we end up not tilling, then we will still spend […]

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