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I was recently able to make the acquaintance of a master gardener from Tennessee. As spring was approaching, we got to talking about gardening (how I found out he was a master gardener). Well, he plants a variety of things to benefit food banks, nursing homes, etc... even fresh cut flowers. Said his method is "almost" organic, but said there are a few things that just requires spray, or they simply won't make it. The interesting thing he mentioned though, he does not till the soil. Says the soil structure and worms, etc... are too critical to lose. After some thought, I totally agree. If you have mulch, whether it be leaves, clipppings, newspaper, whatever, ready to go, simply turn over the small required space to get the plant(s) in. If you think about it, garden plant roots are small, and contained to an area the size of a shovel head or two. You mechanically till the entire area, only to compact it down by constantly walking on it.

Well anyhow, he convinced me to give it a go this year. The key seems to be having the weed suppressor (mulch) ready and on-hand early on.
 

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That's one of the ideas behind raised beds. Once you mix up all the stuff inside the bed, you shouldn't have to till again. Just mix in some compost at the beginning of each season. Haven't used my tiller since I built my beds 2 years ago. So much easier, and space saving, then row gardening.
 

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i grow wheat in the fall to die off through the winter. then just put plants in. already mulched & stays fairly weed free
 

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There's still a place for tilling, but if you play your cards right you might only have to till once, ever. If you put down new compost and mulch every year, keep it weeded,and keep it well covered, you won't have to break sod again. Some years I expanded the garden by covering the area I wanted to add the next year with a tarp all summer to kill the grass, and the next year the dirt was ready to work without tilling.
 
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