To grow healthy food, a farmer must have healthy, living soil.
One of the ways we maintain soil health at Toppled Barn Farm is by committing to using no-till farming techniques.
Using a rototiller has been proven to break up the soil structure. Thus pulverizing the environment microscopic creatures need to thrive. Without a healthy microbiome, living soil will die and become nothing but dirt. There’s a huge difference between the two!
Similar to how science is making new discoveries about how important a healthy gut microbiome is to our bodies, it is also discovering how a healthy soil microbiome contributes to growing healthy food.
So how do we create an ideal bed for planting new veggies? After removing old crops (usually pulling them out by hand) the next step is to loosen the soil to create an ideal environment for new seeds to sprout and put down deep roots. We do this by using a special tool called a broadfork.
It is a wide fork with 4 strong, steel tines. You jab it into the soil, step on it to push the tines down 6-8 inches, and pull back a little. Along with breaking up the soil, oxygen is able to get down to the little microbes.
We then add compost and fertilizer, rake the bed smooth, and plant. In a week or so, new seedlings emerge and will soon grow into nutrient-dense veggies for you and your family.
Click the photo below to be taken to a goofy video of Chris and the broadfork in action.
Wow, this is great to see this broadfork in action. Chris has got the moves!! I wondered whether you used a small tiller on your soil. Now I know you do not. Very interesting indeed. I totally understand about disrupting the microbial activity in the soil. Sounds like this preserves it.