To Till or not to Till – Keep off your Garden Soil

There’s always been a question on whether to hand dig or till the soil. There is also the option of using the lasagna gardening technique where you layer different compost materials to make a fast soil you can plant in.

But whichever way you decide to go, one really wise choice in the garden is not to walk on your soil in the areas you plant. If you use raised beds this is relatively easy but if you plant in rows there is more of a tendency to walk on the soil.

Why is it wise not to walk on the soil?

  • Soil will stay aerated if you don’t walk on it so the plants breath better
  • Water will soak into the soil better
  • Weeds will pull easier
  • It’s easier to rotate second crop. Just remove any weeds and loosen the soil.

I have practiced not walking on the garden soil for many years. I place boards in area I need to walk and stepping-stones in flower gardens.

I went four years without having to till my garden areas. This was easy to do if I did not walk on the soil and coved the soil with mulch in the fall before winter weather settled in. On the forth year I didn’t cover the ground with mulch and it hardened up that winter and I had to till the soil again.

I have to admit it was easy and fun to go out early in the spring with a garden claw and in five minutes and be able to plant in the garden. That was great for those early crops that you want to put in but don’t want to disturb the soil anymore than necessary.

Here’s a link on Lasagna gardening if you would like to know more about the gardening technique.    Enjoy this year’s garden season and keep off the soil.

Tags: keeping off garden soil, hand digging a garden, tilling a garden, garden soil, lasagna gardening

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