I've been working on converting my traditional garden to a "no till" garden.
The philosophy behind a no till garden is that when you do not disturb the soil, but set up planting beds, permanent pathways, layer amendments on top of the soil and mulch heavily there is no need to till. The area you plant in is not disturb, therefore there is no compacting or weed seeds brought to the top, saving you lots of time and work.
What I decided to use was newspaper under a rich compost for my planting beds and cardboard under a thick layer of wood mulch for my paths. This plan allows closer planting of plants, no tilling or hoeing will be needed. Weeding will be minimal. Did I say that already? :)
Here's a picture of how far I've gotten. As you can see I'm still not done. When I'm done you wont see the edges of the cardboard. See that big pile of compost. My hubby was able to get that for me for FREE. I love FREE!
I have four beds with mulch paths around them established. I used 6-8 layers of newspaper. You are supposed to wet the newspaper first, but my garden area was already sopping wet, so I didnt. Which brings up another reason I decided to do this. You are able to plant in a no till garden much earlier. The reason being is that with no need to till you dont have to wait until it dries out. My garden has not dried out enough this year to till properly. It is on a slope and gets great drainage.
I've fought waiting till it is dry, then tilling, then weeding after the plants were in for three years now and I'm done with that plan. I'm excited to see how this works. They say the second year is even better than your first year as far as production. The second year and thereafter I will only need to add a couple of inches of compost to the planting beds as well as a couple of inches of mulch to the paths.
In my four beds I have 8 tomato plants, 4 hot pepper plants, 12 bell pepper plants, 1cucumber, and one cantaloupe. I will be planting bush beans and carrots here in the next couple of days.
I'll track my progress this year and blog it here for you to follow.