No Dig Gardening

“No dig gardening is actually an approach to cultivation favored by many organic gardeners. No dig method relies on nature to carry out cultivation operations such as letting the experts do it, the earth worms. Though some may not agree to it, read first why organic gardeners are advocating it.”

 

No Dig

(c) http://deepgreenpermaculture.com

Everyone agrees that gardening would be way more fun, and many people would be more inclined to take up gardening if there wasn’t the need for all that back-breaking hard work such as digging… It may be a surprise to many people, but digging IS NOT a necessary part of gardening at all!

So how did we get into the habit of digging up our gardens in the first place?  Basically it’s just old tradition. Historically people have treated their gardens like miniature farms, people looked at how huge areas of land were farmed , and then did the same on a smaller scale, because that’s what they knew how to do.

You may be asking “Why do farms till the soil anyway?” The answer is because tillage (i.e. ploughing)  helps loosen compacted soil which makes it easier to plant into, rips up weeds, and buries the scraps left over from harvesting.

This then raises the logical question, why is the soil compacted in the first place if it’s constantly tilled? There are several causes re-compaction of tilled soil, namely animal-powered and mechanised farm equipment, such as tractors and oxen, people walking on the soil and rain impacting on bare soil!

Before we can understand the reasons for not digging soil, it’s important to understand what soil is, otherwise it’s not clear what we’re dealing with.

 

Why We Shouldn’t Dig!

The soil is not just ‘dirt’ to anchor plant and tree roots, though that’s how many people treat it! The soil is a very complex ecosystem, teeming with very diverse life.

In fact, the soil is more abundant with life and more complex than any other ecosystem above the ground. There are about 50 billion microbes in 1 tablespoon of soil. By comparison, the human population numbers just over 7 billion currently. These organisms include Bacteria, Actinomycetes, Fungi, Yeast, Protozoa, Algae and  Nematodes. Furthermore there are arthropods and insects in there as well, including earthworms. That’s a lot of life in the soil!

So what are all these critters doing in the soil? The soil bacteria form a beneficial relationship with plant roots, and soil fungi form a beneficial relationship with …

 

Read more: http://deepgreenpermaculture.com/diy-instructions/no-dig-gardening/

 

 

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