There’s always been the idea that digging is the best way to prepare the soil prior to planting. However, a revolutionary grower named Charles Dowding says that this is a myth.

No-dig gardening is said to produce higher yields and more nutritious vegetables. This technique has been executed by Dowding for decades and has proven effective, as it works on his crops. To be successful in this method, it will depend on maintaining the quality and structure of the soil. You can achieve this by constantly mulching the topsoil with compost and composted manure. This keeps the organisms and fungi thriving in the subsoil. This also results in the long, straight growth of root vegetables like carrots.

With no-dig gardening, the soil works on itself; if there is less interruption, it works more effectively. You just need to feed the soil workers with organic matter. The soil becomes more structured than loose and crumbly while microorganisms multiply, allowing the soil to be rich in nutrients. If there’s less digging, weeds also tend to grow less and can be easily removed as well.

A comparison of vegetables planted in dug and undug soils shows that soil needs time to recover after the disturbance made from digging. Vegetables that grow on dug soil are cabbages or brassicas whose roots do not use mycorrhizae, a fungus that helps feed the roots with nutrients. This suggests that soil cultivation is harmful to soil fungi, specifically  mycorrhizae.

Benefits of adding organic matter to topsoil

Adding organic matter on the soil’s surface enables the organisms to contribute to soil structure and fertility. By frequently putting organic matter on the soil’s surface will protect and enrich it.

Compost also benefits the poor and thin soils by enhancing its moisture retention and that decreases the growth of weeds. This also lowers the need for using fertilizers and herbicides that may harm soil. In composting, animal manure is also best for adding nutrients to  plants.

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