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On my journey to becoming a homesteader, I realized there are so many approaches to gardening and preparing the soil for planting. I was going to just till up the soil until my eyes were opened to the many different approaches. I researched each one, making sure to learn as much as I could, and I was amazed to discover that I didn't have to till or hardly water, and I could even avoid weeding!
Every homesteader has their own preference and philosophies for how they approach the garden. Here, I'll explain a few different styles so you can choose the best type for you and your family.
This garden requires no tilling and is my personal preference. The process is very simple:
The main goal is to protect the soil and garden how God intended. If you have ever looked at the soil in the woods, you will have noticed how rich, moist, and amazing it is. It's because the leaves, pine needles, twigs, sticks, and even trees fall. All of those things protect the topsoil and help to keep the soil moist.
So what the Back to Eden garden does is follows nature's way. This method is amazing! It can be especially beneficial if you have sandy or clay-packed soil. If you are in a dry area or are experiencing drought, you won't have to water this garden. It is no-water (well, very little), no-till, little weeding, and low maintenance method.
Lasagna gardening is basically the same concept as the Back to Eden garden, just with different material.
With this method, you are always adding layers like lasagna. The photo below shows you exactly what I am talking about.
This method just doesn't seem like a good fit for me because there is a lot of work that goes into prepping the straw you use. On the other hand, if you have trouble bending over and can't build a raised bed, this option could be for you.
This is a 14 day process. This is how to start conditioning your straw bales:
Another no-till option are raised beds. These are also another great option if you have issues with bending over or have physical limitations, but still want to garden. You can build the beds as tall or as short as you need them. Plus, you can still use any of the soil preparation options I have described above, or you can fill it up with soil and go to town growing whatever your heart desires.
Last, but certainly not least, is container gardening. If you live in a small place, have a small yard, or even only have a balcony, you can still garden in containers.
My grandpa uses this method because he is older now and can't do all of the upkeep a garden requires. He has us go get him potting soil and fertilizer and then he plants tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. Of course, you can do way more than this, but he keeps it small and simple and something he can manage without having us help. The best part is he still gets to give us all his extra produce (which he enjoys).
Containers are practical for small spaces or for those that think they can't garden because they have no yard. I am here to tell you it is still possible! You can use anything you have laying around, like milk jugs, bags, old wheelbarrows, gutters, cheap plastic bins, anything you can fill with dirt. Have fun and be creative with this option.
Well there you have it, some no-till, little-weeding, low-watering gardening options. Tilling your land is not the only option. There are much easier ways and from my experience you get the same or better results! It really is a win win.
What type of gardening do you do? How has it worked for you?