The Organic No-Till Methodology for Gardeners

Gardens can benefit tremendously from the organic no-till methodology

Organic no-till agriculture is the ultimate way, in my opinion, to restore the health of your soil. Organic no-till agriculture involves planting cover crops either in between or at the end of your season, killing the cover crop before it flowers by pulling the cover crop out of the soil from its root and laying the cover crop back over the soil. Then you plant seeds directly below the crop cover so that the cover crop provides instant nutrients and minerals to your seeds and you create a thick mat of mulch that can store and slowly release water to your seeds, reducing the amount of water and fertilizers usage in your garden.

Cover crops are brilliant tools to build up the health of your soil as they help turn unusable nitrogen in the air into nitrogen that your plants can use, they breakdown directly into your soil to contribute phosphorous, potassium, calcium and more directly back to the soil and research from the Rodale Institute, the leading organic no-till farm has shown that using the organic no-till system consistently increases yields in dozens upon dozens of crops. So why has this technique not made its way to gardeners.

I believe that part of the reason why organic no-till methodology has not made its way to gardeners is because gardens are small-scale and many people think that this methodology is used on large-scale farms. In all actuality, organic no-till principles work extremely well in small-scale gardens. We used this technique at Pure Love Organic Farms, in New York City, to quickly turn our contaminated, yellow-ish soil into fertile soil that was high in organic matter in less than 6 months.

Another reason why gardeners may not be aware of this methodology is because not many gardeners utilize techniques that restore the health of their soil at the end of the season. Adding compost is great in the spring and if you utilized cover crops at the end of the fall season you could set your soil up for tremendous success in the spring and the addition of compost in tandem with organic no-till agricultural principles would supercharge your soil and create yields like you have never seen before. This was one of our keys to growing over 300 tulips, over 50 hyacinths and dozens of daffodils, irises and crocuses every spring.

Organic no-til agriculture also provides a tremendous defense against weeds as many cover crops have allelopathic properties that naturally suppress weed growth. Add in the thick layer of green mulch that cover crops generate and the ability for cover crops to alter soil microbial communities to prevent weed growth and you have a killer solution for suppressing weed growth (https://articles.extension.org/pages/18524/how-cover-crops-suppress-weeds)

.Using organic no-till methodology is a big boon for your garden. This system of growing can be implemented quickly and start to show dividends for your garden in less than 6 months. If you are interested in utilizing organic no-till methodology in your garden, schedule a consultation with us so we can create a plan to bring the amazing benefits of organic no-till agriculture to your garden.

Michael Forman is an urban farmer who founded Pure Love Sustainability Inc. and teaches gardeners and farmers how to create optimal conditions for soil health. Michael loves teaching these techniques and principals to new gardeners and offers no-cost initial garden consultations that help gardeners create and maintain the gardens of their dreams. If you want to learn any of these techniques, need support in your garden and/or want to try your hand at gardening for the first-time, please fill out a contact form on his website