Four Winds Farm was established in 1988, In 1995, we stopped rototilling our garden space. We formed permanent beds using a back blade mounted on a tractor. Every year, we spread compost on the beds and then plant into the compost. I fill the tractor bucket up with compost and then slowly back up while 2 people unload the compost.
The main advantage to farming this way is that we have fewer weeds. The compost acts as a barrier and prevents the weed seed from germinating. We still have weeds, but not nearly as many as we used to have, and the weeds that we do have pull out really easily.
We have learned over the years that there are many other advantages to this no-till method. Tilling the soil will cause the organic matter in the soil to oxidize. By not tilling, we are able to preserve the soil's oprganic matter. The organic matter in our soil is 6%. This high organic matter helps to keep the soil loose and moist during dry spells and also helps to prevent erosion during heavy rains.
By not tilling the soil, we protect the important microbial life that is important for healthy plant growth. We also have no need for lots of expensive tilling equipment and are able to reduce our carbon footprint by limiting the use of our tractor.
Perhaps the best advantage for our approach is our high level of customer satisfaction. Our customers tell us that we grow the tastiest vegetables and that our vegetables stay fresh longer than vegetables from other farms.
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