Wednesday, June 6, 2012

To Till or Not To Till?

This is something that gardeners ask all the time.  There are pros and cons to tilling and NOT tilling. Sometimes this causes controversy among gardeners.

Benefits of Tilling:
 - breaks up hard soil and clay and is an easy way to add soil amendments like compost
 - turns in weeds so you don't have to pull them out
 - aerates soil

Benefits of NOT Tilling:
 - allows the worms and microorganisms to live at their levels in the soil without disruption.  They are what make your soil alive.  They provide fertilizer and aeration naturally.  Tilling is bad for them.
 - weed seeds that may exist at deep levels are not brought to the surface and allowed opportunity to germinate.  Tilling can create a bad weed problem in the long run.

** The only time tilling is a great idea is when you are first starting a garden and you want to add a lot of soil amendment and break up the soil that's there.  After that, add layers of compost, leaves and manure to the surface on a regular basis and let the worms do the work!  They will move the nutrients in the soil to the root zones of your plants.  If you are learning to use organic gardening methods, the "no till" method is a big one, as it promotes the health of your soil.

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