Since the beginning of my flower farming career, I’ve been consumed with a desire to improve the clay soil that we are planting in. The past two years, our garden has left me feeling challenged, with great needs like aeration of the soil, fertilizers, irrigation, pest and weed control and the list goes on. Knowing from the beginning adding organic matter of any kind to the garden was always important to me, I just did not know more than that.
How to Improve Your Soil
This last fall the research began, “how to improve your soil”. This brought me to an article by Ruth Stout on “no dig gardening”; eliminating the need for digging, fertilizing and watering. Who wouldn’t love to garden like this? This has peaked my interest, continuing on the road to more knowledge, I found the no-dig gardening method is very popular.
Back to Eden Method
The Back to Eden Method of gardening is another form of no-dig gardening, following nature completely according to Paul Gautschi. He takes scripture as his basis for creating a natural garden the way the creator has designed for us. I love this method and he has a documentary teaching you how to grow your own food.
Lastly, the Lasagne Method of no-dig gardening, the layering of different organic materials, that will break down over time, resulting in rich, aerated soil that happens all on its own with the least amount of soil disturbance possible.
All of these no-till no-dig methods, allow the soil to create Mycorrhizal Fungi which is essential to have in the soil with host plant (flowers, vegetables, cover crops). It allows the plants to use nutrients and water from the soil. It is a sustainable natural way that plants receive moisture and nutrients.
What happens in soil if you till or turn over your soil, it decreases the mycorrhizae fungi drastically so the plants lack in nutrients and moisture, hence the need to compensate.
A New Season-A New Method
Moving forward, this year we will be concentrating on turning our 1/4 acre flower farm into a regenerative no-till farm. The goal would be to create the best soil conditions using natural layering of our organic, straw, manure (sheep & chicken) compost and a covering of either hay or wood chips.
In this form of gardening we should never have to use chemical fertilizers, no need for irrigation, and best of all very little weeding ( which my back will appreciate).
It may take a little while to get this all right, but my garden will not be tilled, so follow along this summer as we document the progress of this type of gardening at Thistle Lane!