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No More Digging / Tilling!

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Of all the times I have spoken to people about Natural Gardening, the one topic that seems to concern people the most is Digging or Tilling (plowing).  I will explain why the disturbance of soil is detrimental to the soil life.

In soil that is has been untouched for years there is an abundance of microbial life. They spend their days building elaborate underground cities. They construct passages to travel, transport nutrients, water passages and areas to contain air. The microbes, micro and macro soil life creatures create the perfect environment surrounding the rhizosphere of every plant. They are there in fact because of the plants.

Benificial fungi sends out it’s hyphae in all directions, connecting plant roots to lush nutrient and water sources. They also connect the root systems of nearby plants together. This giant spider web of connections help to keep plants healthy, warned of danger and sharing resources.

So, what does this have to do with firing up your Rototiller?  When you dig or till the amazing subterranian world is torn apart. The microbes and insects that prefer to live deep in the cool soil get exposed to the harsh rays of the sun, descicating winds and hungry preditors. The creatures that love the open environment get crushed by heavy soil, are smothered and loose all contact with their food sources.  The delicate web of fungi gets chopped into small pieces and dies. And if that is not enough, the soil structure gets distroyed and the particles become uniform in size thereby resulting in compaction. Imagine, the very thing you were trying to fix, compaction, is actually caused by rototilling, plowing and digging.

So there you have it, you can sell your tiller, grab a glass of vino and enjoy your microbe farm!

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