Tuesday, October 2, 2012

To Till or Not To Till

Every Fall, weather permitting, I roto-till my garden beds in preparation for Spring. When the frost has taken its toll I clean out the plant material for the compost bins. In this case it is a bed of dahlias where I also dug up the bulbs and will attempt to store them. (My previous attempt was unsuccessful). 

The next step is to till the clumps and pick out anything I missed the first time.

Next I get a trailer full of compost and add about 3 inches to each bed until I run out.

The compost is tilled into the bed, smoothed out and the rocks are swept off. All ready for Spring planting!
I've been trying to do less work and a little more reading/research which isn't easy with so many children/chores/animals, and I've found some articles in support of doing the opposite.... do not till.

Obviously, I haven't bought into this method yet or I would have saved myself a lot of work. For me tilling my gardens is a bit like burning my lawn in the Spring... I can't NOT do it. I'm a bit like the old dog who can't learn new tricks.

I read two articles here and here and I'm not sure if I disagree or am just stubborn. Am I really damaging my soil? Do you till your gardens? I would love if you could share what you do.