Sunday, April 24, 2011

No till gardening (or farming)

A beautiful long weekend meant spending every spare minute outdoors - everything is coming alive!  The perennials like rhubarb, sorrel, red orach (mountain spinach), purple lambsquarters, chives, currants, elderberry, and chokecherry, and herbs like lemonbalm, oregano, mints, sage, lavender, thyme, chamomile are all leafing out and flowering...

We spent our weekend planting radishes, spinach, lettuce, peas, calendula, sweet peas; seeding cucumbers, zucchini, squash and melons in the greenhouse flats; transplanting basil; securing the chicken run with new fencing and a proper gate; creating a new "kids" garden; cleaning up brush piles to store as kindling; and setting up a second grow tunnel.

We are continuing the no-till gardening method as we prepare the beds for planting.  No till gardening is based on the ideas of Masanobu Fukuoka in One Straw Revolution, Ruth Stout's no dig gardening system, permaculture principles, (and various others).  No till gardening (or farming) does not mean "no work", as compost, mulch, top dressings, and cover crops are used to build soil health and quality, but there are many benefits.  No till gardening promotes natural aeration and drainage of the soil, saves water, reduces soil erosion, minimizes the need for weeding, saves time, energy and money, encourages soil life (worms, bacteria, fungi, etc), and helps soil retain carbon.

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