No-Till Farming

When we started farming in 1988, every summer was a constant battle of fighting weeds. We never seemed to be able to get ahead of them. Then a friend suggested that we stop rototilling and use compost to control the weed pressure. So in 1994, we formed permanent beds and used a generous application of compost to keep the weeds from growing. Over time, as we expanded our garden space, we found we needed to make our own compost. Today, we have 4 acres of permanent No-Till beds. The remainder of our 24 acres is used to pasture our small herd of beef cattle. Their manure, which is collected during the winter months, is composted using a forced air system and supplies the farm with all the compost it needs. We spread this compost on top of the beds, and then plant seeds and transplants directly into the compost. The plant roots and compost nutrients move down into the soil where there is a healthy, thriving community of soil organisms. Plowing and or tilling destroys this community. Tilling also causes carbon to leave the soil and enter into the atmosphere, adding to an increase of carbon dioxide where it doesn’t do anybody any good. By keeping that carbon in the soil, we create a soil that holds water better, absorbs water during heavy rains thereby reducing the potential for erosion and flooding, and reduces disease pressure by keeping that community of beneficial soil organisms healthy. We find that this technique reduces overall weed pressure  We also believe that our way of farming is better for the Earth because we are less dependent on energy – and capital – consuming tractors and equipment. Another benefit to our approach to farming is that we can produce a lot of vegetables in a small space because our rows are much closer together. This approach also is an effective tool to fight climate change. But the reason our customers like the way we farm is because our vegetables taste much better than vegetables grown elsewhere and they keep longer in the refrigerator.

Read, Listen and Watch more about out No-Till System:

Growing For Market: May 2016: The Many Benefits of No-Till Farming

Growing For Market: January 2019: Static Aerated Compost Pile Heats Right Up Without Turning

The No-Till Market Garden Podcast:

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