Basics of Backyard Gardening: part 1

 

In this 4 part series we explore the basics of backyard gardening, providing general steps and tips to encourage new gardeners. Part 1 will demonstrate how to prep a garden bed, covering how to clear existing vegetation, minimal tilling, and an introduction to the diverse soil microbiome that is the source of all life.

GARDEN BED
In this video, we are working with an existing garden bed. To create your own garden bed:
• clear away existing vegetation from a small space of land
• 10x10 area is a good beginner's size
• if you’re starting with a lawn, you may want to rent a sod cutter to remove the grass.

MINIMAL TILLING
Modern industrialized farming includes heavy machinery, chemical inputs such as pesticides and herbicides, and mono-cropping without rotation. These highly mechanized, technological practices fueled by carbon energy are designed to control and exploit mother earth rather than cultivate land in alignment with her rhythms and principles of nature. These practices have degraded soil structure, increased erosion and diminished the soil biomass which has resulted in soil infertility and carbon storage loss.

Tilling is often thought of as necessary to clear the soil of existing weeds and break up compact soil to prepare a clean, loose seedbed for planting. However, soil biology teaches us that this conventional practice actually undermines soil structure integrity and results in loss of soil fertility. A healthy, diverse soil microbiome, or the vast invisible soil ecosystem, is what makes soil fertile.

HEALTHY, LIVING SOIL
Soils are hidden universes of biodiversity. It's estimated that 1 gram of soil contains up to 1 billion bacteria, 200 million fungi, and a wide range of mites, nematodes, earthworms, and arthropods.

This vast interconnected community beneath our feet is what metabolizes and mineralizes essential nutrients for plant roots to uptake and grow nutrient dense food.