A Weedless, No-Till Garden?
Not too long ago I saw a wonderful program that interviewed a gardner who had a "weedless, no-till garden". The notion is that you can set up your patch with permanent planting areas and walking areas. By not tilling the soil (after an initial heartly dose of compost amendment) you preserve the stratification of the soil- the air channels that provide water, air and mineral circulation to healthy root systems. Futhermore, by not tilling, you avoid bringing to the surface the many weed seeds that are just begging to see the sun. Each spring, you simply add an inch or so of compost as mulch.
After a bit of reserach, we decided to give the no-till weedless garden a try. We've divided our 270ft x 70ft patch into four zones. Each zone has a series of beds approx. 9ft x 4ft. I spent a number of months figuring out the crop rotation for our patch by chunking the beds into groups of three. In doing so we have developed a 10 year crop rotation.
Now the weedless part- not seeing it yet! Since we tilled up a portion of our grass hay field for our garden patch we have a lot of root systems and grass seeds to contend with. We know, like anything- working the soil takes time....and patience- one weed at a time!