Never Till Practices / Benefits

We do not till.
Aside from making holes for transplants, occasionally stirrup hoeing or broad forking and poking seeds in the ground our land has not been tilled in at least 20 years.  We build new,  organic matter rich soil on top; leaving our underlying soil structure undisturbed.  This means the ecosystem of our soil does not have to contend with the destructive nature of fast moving metal. Instead, we engage in biologically-intensive, human-scale methods to manage our fields and growing spaces.

Benefits of this no-till system include:
      • Less dependence on expensive machinery
      • Less pollution from tractors and runoff caused by tillage
      • Reduced loss of organic matter from over-aeration of the soil
      • Improved soil structure and reduced compaction
      • Increased long term biological soil activity
      • Increased water holding capacity and resistance to drought

ISSUE
APPROACHES
Conventional
Organic
No-Till / Beyond Organic
Soil Preparation Heavy tillage Reduced tillage Plant through residues into undisturbed soil
Fertility Synthetic fertilizers Organic fertilizers Cover crops, organic matter, and soil biology
Weeds Herbicides Tillage, cultivation, bare fallow Undisturbed soil and organic mulches
Pests & Disease Synthetic pesticides and biocides Organic pesticides Biodiversity and soil health
Labor Mechanization with minimal labor Labor seen as input to be minimized Human-scale practices that favor productive labor over mechanization
Markets Commodity markets with set prices Regional wholesale markets Local sales directly to consumer

There are numerous approaches to farming a no till style.  
They run the gambit from large scale agriculture to homesteading; each developed based on available resources, existing soil type, crops and scale of the farm.

We are utilizing a combination of tarping, Ruth Stout method and various permaculture design techniques to develop our land in a long term productive, functional and artistic display of sustainable land stewardship.