The Weston A. Price Way

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Brave New Beginnings...Our No-Till Garden

So...How do you get this without a tiller?
Our tiller broke...again. Last summer. We meant to get it fixed. We didn't. And the fall garden we thought might just do better in these hot, hot, humid, humid parts never happened.

I'm blaming it on the tiller.

That's right! Gardening should be fun...but it could be
more fun without the tiller altogether, and it's surely a
lot less effort.
(Photo credit: 

But now, we've no excuse. At least, we've no tiller excuse because now we know we don't  need a tiller to have a garden...I am absolutely not talking about turning over soil manually.

 No, we stumbled upon...really, it was one of the greatest acts of stumbling upon ever...this "Back-to-Eden" garden plan that is basically a no-till garden, but more. We watched the video. Then we watched it again. And again.

In fact, a very large part of this garden plan is to lessen the work load. Yes, lessen.

In the beginning...We started by laying a couple layers of newspaper over the
area we wanted to use...Later, we decided we wanted more area for garden, so
we added more paper to the left. Looking at the left upper corner, see some of
the newspaper peeking out from beneath, and the layer of compost. Sr. Chief
is shoveling out the fine mulch in this picture. We added another layer of
heavier mulch later. It was a chilly day and the mulch was warm, hence the
But it does need to be undestood that in the beginning, it does take a little more work...or organization. Sr. Chief and I put this garden bed together in an afternoon. It was so easy after getting the mulch to our yard and we count ourselves among the lucky ones because there is a nearby facility that does an excellent job of composting branches, etc...even putting it into categories and composting to a particular temperature to ensure death to bad bugs and good compost results. It's a city-run operation and includes several neighboring cities, of which ours is one.

We borrowed a relative's trailer, hooked it up to our van, and off we went. Two loads-one of fine mulch and one of regular. We have quite a bit left over, too and plan to use it, and the Back-to-Eden approach, in our flower and herb beds. Sr. Chief has already decided to expand the garden, too...I can't tell you how wonderful that makes me feel!

This is how we did it and we actually did a little more than required by adding the layer of fine mulch, but did so because we didn't want to wait a season.
We put down newspaper, covering the grass in a pre-determined area of the yard.
Covered that with about an inch of compost dirt.
Covered that with about 3 inches of fine mulch that's already been composting for 3 months.
Covered that with about 2 inches of regular mulch that's already been composting for 3 months.

You see, it's all about the covering.

Allow me to insert here that in years to come, the amount of mulch needed will decrease. Therefore, the amount of time needed to prepare the bed will be less. So as stated above, the greatest amount of work,(other than harvesting, perhaps), is done once the garden is created...It's 'upfront time'. Even weeding is a breeze...The mulch won't compact like dirt, so any weeds that do make it through, can be pulled easily...even by children! 

Waited a few days...It worked out perfectly for us because it started raining just as we were finishing up and kept raining off and on for a few days.

Planted, making furrows to reach the dirt beneath the mulch.

Waited for seeds to sprout and grow a bit, then covered around them with the mulch which will act as a sponge and hold water in when it's dry...and if it happens to be a really wet season, it will keep the plants from getting too wet. Amazing.

The carrots were just starting to show when this photo was
taken, less than 2 weeks ago. Today, I checked them, (for the 50th time),
and they are showing themselves in large patches...We're so excited!
We cheated a little by not using seeds for several of our plantings. Sr. Chief is used to bedding plants so went that route a bit. I don't mind as I'm so excited that he's so willing to give this a shot.

Now we have our own "Back-to-Eden" garden going. ('Scroll down to the video for details on the 'how-to's'.) We have some heirlooms and hopefully next year, we'll start early enough that we'll have all heirlooms and move into the next phase of saving our own seeds from year to year.

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