No Dig Gardening = Better Soil Biology = Less Work!

soil biology will build your soil structure for you!

Can you imagine a gardening experience where you let microscopic organisms to the ’tilling’ and you just sit back and witness beautiful soil structure grow before your eyes?

Well, it isn’t a dream!

Sometimes I think our big, human brains muddle up things and we assume that we must intervene to make things better.  Unfortunately, that thinking has led to soil degradation, nutrient loss, carbon emissions, and MORE WORK!

The Soil disturbance cycle:  

Clear soil -> Till Soil -> Plant -> Weed Soil -> Fertilize  -> Fight Pests and Disease -> Harvest Crops

The cycle of disturbing soil not only makes more work for humans, but hinders natures natural processes for growing healthy plants


This cycle continues until we choose to change one thing, and when we do that, we create a new cycle.  THE SOIL OBSERVANCE CYCLE

no dig gardening no till gardening puts you into the soil observance cycle

THE SOIL observance CYCLE:  

Remove Large Debris ->  Plant -> Mulch -> Water Less Frequently  -> Apply Compost Teas as Needed -> Observe Garden -> Harvest Crops

Skeptical?  That’s OK.

The magic behind this mostly hands-off approach to growing things is the soil food web.  It consists of organic matter and micro and macro organisms that perform specific functions that provide an endless supply of nutrients for plants.  Each organism has a separate roll to play and an imbalance in any of them can cause issues.  

The main organisms that I focus on while doing Biological Soil Assessments are:

  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Protozoa

The work these organisms do combine to build soil structure that promotes water retention, air flow and dense root systems.  When we disturb the soil through turning, tilling or compacting, these groups of organisms die off in large numbers.  

When they aren’t around, nutrients in the soil aren’t converted into plant available forms, oxygen levels decrease (bringing disease and pests) and you fall back into the Soil Disturbance Cycle.

Are You Ready To Try No Till / No dig Gardening?

Make sure to subscribe to the blog as I will get into more detail about the role each organism group plays and how to ensure they remain in your soil.

Helpful Resources

Soil Food Web
My Favorite No Dig Gardener
Regenerative Agriculture Expert

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