Here’s Herbdoc with some timely advice:
What? Don’t rototill? Believe it or not, the newer recommendations tell us not to do it.
Most folks don’t want to retire their beloved tillers that turn the soil into what looks like a wonderful, well-weeded, smooth garden bed. Unfortunately we need to realize that while we’re grinding away at the soil, we are indeed changing the soil’s texture.
All soil is made up of particles of sand, silt and clay. When mixed together, there are many pore spaces in the sand that allow water to pass through and gases to be exchanged. The clay particles have tinier pore spaces that allow some water to collect for plant root use. This allows the roots to grow and access the nutrients in the soil.
When we rototill, the aggregate of the three particles are beaten to a fine dust. When it rains, the gardener ends up with a hard crusty surface that negatively impacts the soil microorganisms. Not only that but every weed seed in the bed comes to the surface and sprouts! Yikes!
I’ll admit that I still use my little rototiller in new spaces to till additional organic matter into the soil. This is a once a year proposition though and is done quite shallowly. My vegetable garden, like my herb garden, has been turned over to all raised beds. Weeding has become a thing of the past in these areas, and some scratching with a hand cultivator is all that is needed. Are the perennials next? Hmmm…