The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

How to plant a no-till garden

Making a furrowPlanting spring crops is extremely easy in a no-till garden.  If you haven't already done so, rake back the mulch and add half an inch to an inch of high quality compost to feed your vegetables.  For best results, you'll want to work the compost into the top inch or two of your soil with a bow rake, but don't disturb the soil profile further down.

Small seeds can be scattered directly on the soil surface in damp spring weather.  Larger seeds (like peas) and seed potatoes should be planted in a trench made by dragging your hoe in a line down the length of the bed.  Add your seeds then fill the trench back in, lightly tamping the soil with the flat part of your hoe to remove air pockets.  Your seed packet will tell you how deep to plant your seeds, but a good rule of thumb is that depth should be proportional to size of the seed --- miniscule seeds can go on the soil surface, medium-sized seeds might sit a quarter of an inch below, while large seeds can be planted an inch or more deep.

Weekend Homesteader paperbackAs long as you pay attention to soil temperature, germination shouldn't be a problem in the spring.  Once your seedlings are up and running, weed carefully then mulch to prevent further weeds from growing.  Now all you have to do is watch and wait for April, May, and June vegetables.

This week's lunchtime series is excerpted from Weekend Homesteader: March.  I saved some of my favorite projects for last, so I hope you'll splurge 99 cents to read about growing edible mushrooms, composting, and attracting native pollinators.  And, of course, the ebook has the full spring planting chapter.

This post is part of our Spring Planting lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I seeing that your soil was ready for planting I went out and tested mine and seeing that it was above 40 I soaked a bunch of sugar snap seeds. Then I read that it you expect a cold snap to come through to wait. So I have been rinsing my seeds and waiting for the sun to come back out. It kinda seems like sprouting. I just hope that when I put then in the soil they don't freak out from getting started at 65 in the house and then 40 outside. And I don't want the roots to get too long and break when I plant them.
Comment by Kathleen Olsen Mon Feb 27 21:03:00 2012

Some folks do presprout their spring seeds, and it can work well as long as you set them out very carefully so you don't break their roots or sprouts. I'll be curious to hear how your presprout goes!

If you put them in pots inside, you'll be able to harden them off so they don't get shocked --- put them outside for a few days, but take them in at night at first.

Comment by anna Tue Feb 28 08:31:04 2012

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