@vanillamozi by @corahilts
Food & Garden
How To Start a No-Till Garden with Cora Hilts
It is thankfully becoming more widely known that regenerative, organic and no till gardening are all wonderful ways to help our planet, biodiversity, and ultimately human health. My husband and I started our own garden at our new farmhouse in Maine last year and I wanted to walk you through the very easy steps we took because if we can do it, anyone can!
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Why No Till?
The no dig gardening method (also called “no till gardening”) is an easy way to create and maintain your beds, without the manual labor that comes with turning or tilling the soil.
In fact, the core principle of this technique is to disturb the soil as little as possible. The reason for this is that digging and tilling damages the delicate soil structure, exposes dormant weed seeds, and also kills beneficial organisms. No dig gardening is all about taking care of the soil and in turn, it is incredible at capturing carbon which we so need to get out of the atmosphere to all of our fossil fuel burning. The idea is that you’re building it up, rather than destroying it by breaking it down with a tiller or shovel.
And guess what – healthier soil means healthier plants. These gardens tend to have fewer problems with pests and diseases, so plants can thrive. As a result, you’ll see an increase in both the yield and quality of your produce. When you create a no dig garden, you are working with nature instead of against it to improve the soil texture and fertility.
Supplies you need!
- Thick cardboard (remove any staples, labels, or tape) or newspaper
- Organic mulch material (compost, leaf mulch, peat moss, well rotted manure, and/or worm castings)
- Water (you will use less with no till as the soil is so much more absorptive!)
- Seeds or seedlings (preferably from organic, non-GMO sources)
How we did it?
Step 1. Knock down the weeds and grass
First, mow the area using the lowest setting on your lawn mower. If there are any well established perennial weeds with thick stocks in the area, then it’s best to pull or dig those out instead of just cutting them down.
Step 2: Cover the bed with cardboard
Cover the entire surface of the ground with thick cardboard. This will smother the grass and kill it. Be sure to remove any staples or tape first, as those won’t break down.
Step 3: Wet it all down
Next, spray water over your base layer until it is wet. This will keep it from blowing away, and also soften the cardboard so that it can conform to the ground.
Step 4: Pile on the organic matter
Add a thick layer of mulch materials, like compost, rotted manure, peat moss, and/or worm castings over the top of the cardboard. Remember, the idea is to block out all light from reaching the weeds and grass underneath. Plus the organic matter will keep the cardboard moist, which will help to smother the weeds faster. In order for this to work, your compost layer needs to be at least 4-6″ deep to block out any chance of light getting through, and maintain the proper moisture level.
Step 5: Plant your garden
The best part about the no dig gardening method is that you don’t have to wait to plant your beds! By the time the roots reach the cardboard, it will be soft enough that they’ll grow right through it, and into the soil underneath. This is why the thicker your compost layer is, the better.
Why I am using Vanilla Mozi when I’m out in the garden!
One aspect of being out in the garden that is unavoidable is that bugs like mosquitoes will come visit and annoy you. However, just like my garden I want to keep things as natural as possible which is why I always use Vanilla Mozi as my bite-proof body cream of choice.
The thing I love most about Vanilla Mozi is that they avoid using a very particular chemical that is often used in bite-proof products. “The motivation behind Vanilla Mozi founder Lea-Anne Crawford developing her revolutionary Bite-Proof Body Cream nearly 20 years ago was that her children’s skin was reacting to the pesticides used in traditional repellents. DEET is one of the harshest and most commonly used ingredients and she felt this was causing the skin rashes yet there were no other options on the market. Out of necessity and a mother’s instinct that there had to be a better way to avoid bug bites, Vanilla Mozi Bite-Proof Body Cream was created. Today it has grown to become a much loved product protecting families all around the world with a unique biomimicry approach to Natural Bug Protection.” – Vanilla Mozi