Ditch the rototiller for the easiest way to grow your own garden

Story and photos by NADIA PFLAUM • Standard-Examiner Staff 

Tilling the soil is the most back-aching part of gardening. Thankfully, there’s a way around it.

This method of growing veggies is better for the soil, reduces the need for weed-killing chemicals and sequesters carbon where it belongs: in the ground, feeding your plants.  

Setting up your no-till garden

STEP ONE

What you'll need to start: make or buy a simple wooden frame.

The frame should be about 6 inches high. Next, gather newspaper, water, soil and mulch to start no-till gardening.

For this time of year, you'll want to start with plants instead of seeds but the bottom of a cardboard egg cartons are great to use as seedling-starters. 

(Note: You can also use rocks or another material instead of a wooden frame. You just need something to keep the newspaper and soil in place.)

 

 

 

STEP TWO

Choose at spot in your yard to place your newspaper and frame. Make sure you choose a spot that gets sunlight and shade according to the plant's needs. 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP THREE

Plop what you're planting (like this tomato plant) on top of the newspaper and cover the area immediately around it with soil. 

PRO TIP: Marigolds have pest-deterring properties.

 

 

 

STEP FOUR

When you have everything placed according to instructions on spacing, cover the remaining empty spaces with mulch. 

Depending on how much you fill your no-till garden at the start, you  can add plants to your garden — like seedlings, once they're big enough — by just clearing away a spot of mulch and putting the new soil where you want something else to grow. The mulch helps retain moisture and preserve carbon in the soil.