You are currently viewing To dig or not to dig … that is the question

To dig or not to dig … that is the question

I subscribe to The Old Farmer’s Almanac Garden Planner. A recent email shared this video on gardening without tilling. This is where I have to admit, I have never tilled my soil. I don’t have a rototiller, and I lack the strength to turn over that much soil with a spade. If I had to till, my gardens would be 2×2 feet, max!

My own experience has shown me that tilling is not critical to success. You do need to amend the soil, and in some places, mulching is essential. But maybe tilling is not all that. Take a look:

I learned long ago that most home gardens in the U.S. would benefit from raised beds. A variety of issues make in-the-ground home gardening difficult to impossible. Nicely constructed raised beds are beautiful, and I envy my fellow gardeners with mad carpentry skills. But I also know that raised bed gardening using rocks, boards, cement blocks, and large containers all work.

Raised bed gardening with bucketsLast year, I picked up dozens of plastic buckets from my local Trader Joe’s. Most are about 2.2 gallons. We drilled drainage holes and mixed up my favorite soil blend. My raised beds were actually a lot of these pots strung together (more like a ragtag fugitive fleet), but they worked. I had more tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers than I knew what to do with.


Check out the Old Farmer’s Almanac for a month-by-month gardening to-do list for Olympia or your hometown.

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