I have been working on removing sod to a new patch of the garden all winter but yesterday I started breaking the ground on the part of the garden I had last year. What a difference a year makes. Turning the soil on the new ground I am breaking is backbreaking work but the area of of garden that I worked last year is amazing! The soil in the old garden is weed and rock free because I spent a lot of time last year taking care of it. The mulch I used last year really paid off, not just because it kept the weeds at bay but also because it added much needed organic material.
Last year I had my garden plowed by a neighbor but this year I'm doing the entire thing by hand. There are several reasons why gardening without mechanization is good not just for the garden but for the gardener as well.
1. It is good for the garden because it prevents compaction which is good for the microbes in the soil. It increases air in the soil which not only means more oxygen but also more nitrogen because air has a higher percentage of nitrogen than it does oxygen.
2. It is good for the plants because it gives the plants room to grow so their roots can search for needed nutrients.
3. Without the hard-pan, the soil is well drained preventing wet feed for the plants.
4. The gardener is benefited by the exercise that working in the garden gives him or her.
5. Healthier plants that are grown on this type of soil. Because the plants are healthier, the gardener who eats it is healthier.