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The Pros and Cons of Cultivation

December 3, 2014

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I’ve changed my ways. Five years ago I was vigorously working over the soil of my raised beds between the summer and winter gardens and again in late spring. Sometimes I’d double dig to loosen the soil and often I’d remove 3-4 inches of soil and replace with my garden compost.

In recent years, I’ve tried to disturb the soil as little as possible, though I continue to add compost. I’m learning more about the soil food web.

An incredible diversity of organisms make up the soil food web. They range in size from the tiniest one-celled bacteria, algae, fungi, and protozoa, to the more complex nematodes and micro-arthropods, to the visible earthworms, insects, small vertebrates, and plants.

Barbara Pleasant at GrowVeg.com summarizes reasons to minimize soil disruption. Then she provides Gentle Soil Cultivation Guidelines. Read her brief post here.

Monarchs at Cape Ann, MA

Bi-coastal Moment: Pears