This garden is significantly less effort than most new gardens.  It sequesters lots of carbon and regenerates the land, so it mitigates climate change.

  1. Do not till.  For this it is imperative that you start the garden as early as possible.  The more the weeds have a change to grow, the harder it is to find bare ground for the plants you want to plant.   With that said we do till for a first garden.   Do not be  concerned about compacted soils, clay  or sand in your soil for the microbes will bring air to your soil and turn your soil into loam.
  2. We love weeds.  We do not pull them out of the ground as the weed roots are great food for the microbes.  What we do is cut the weeds down when they block light to the plants.  To this end there are some very low growing cover crops that we recommend be planted in vegetable beds.  If you are short of time, starting up the first season, you can plant these in August or early September, not at the beginning of the season.  The weeds perform important functions in soil, one of which is to shade the ground so that microbes can grow.  Once you have your low growing cover crops you will not be cutting down so many weeds.  You can easily plant the low growing cover crops in the paths.  They also tolerate walking.  You will get a lot more plants in your garden area but planting them in what we call beds.  This means that when the seed packet says 18 inches in the rows and 3 feet between the row, we plant everything in the bed 18 inches apart.  
  3. No soil amendments are necessary.  Elaine Ingham has tested soils all over the world.  What the soil tests show is available minerals.  With the microbe plant partners, all minerals are available.  She has found that all soils have all minerals and whatever else the plants need to grow.
  4. You need to put the seeds in water mixed with mycorhizzals and bacteria.  If you live in a town, your water will be treated with chlorine,  you need to get a filter for your hose which takes out the chlorine.  I found one on the internet for 18.00 plus shipping.   I would use Effective Microorganisms from TeraGanix and soluble mycorhizzals from Fungi Perfecti.  You can buy the smallest quantities available as you will need very little for a small plot.  You can also grow indigenous microorganisms.  It is recommended that certain folks do this for their neighborhoods.  
  5. If you plant early in a  previously used garden plot, you can dig a furrow in the soil and plant your seeds in the normal manner.  Then cover the seeds.   If there are weeds blocking your furrow go around them.    Later when you want to put transplants in the soil, you can remove a few weeds.  I cannot say enough about how valuable the weeds are, and of course the short walkonable cover crops will easily replace the weeds. 
  6. It is important when the weeds shade the plants to cut them down, not pull them out.  Usually if there is no bare ground, the weeds will not regrow.   Greens prefer a little shade so leave some weeds for them.  I often choose to let lambs quarters and amaranth grow.  They are delicious to eat.   Lettuce can do with a lot of shade when the sun is hot.  Elaine ingham the roots of your profits

  1. What John Kempf and many others have found is that if you give some minerals in a foliar spray, especially within the first 2 weeks, the plants will grow much better.  John Kempf actually suggests that with these technics we can increase production by as much as 7 times.  They use something like seawater (liquid mineral supplement, make sure it is organic) in with their foliar microbe inoculations.  I can see how this would help in a garden where microbes have not had time to multiply properly, especially in gardens where microbes have not been used in the past.  Where I am, I have some volcanic ash and am using that.  You will learn a lot about how plants work from this video with John Kempf.  If you have large acerages, their consulting firm is helping people around the world.  I have had great results with drenching the water from a watering can as well as from spraying with a sprayer.

  1. How microbe partners work:  the plant secretes sugars which feed microbes. The mycorhizzals extend the roots of the plants by at least 10 times.   The microbe partners give minerals, make nitrogen, and also share water with the plants, etc.  Minerals are the limiting factor for the Krebs cycle in plants just like in humans.  The more minerals the plants gets the more sugars the plants secrete and the more their microbe partners multiply and give the plants more minerals. . . .What is especially amazing is that the plant partners, know exactly what the plants need, so a plant that needs an alkaline environment can be accommodated next door to a plant that needs an acid environment. I recommend you spray both the leaves and the ground with microbes approximately every 2 weeks for the duration of the summer, at least in the first year.  
  2. The basis for using less water and eventually no water in your garden, as well as for not tilling is that the microbes in the soil and especially the mycorhizzals form tubules which store carbon and make humus.  10% humus will hold 200,000 gallons of water per acre.  These tubules are destroyed by tilling. This is what Australian microbiologist Walter Jahne calls the carbon sponge.  This will hold the water in the soil and also allow it to go down to the aquifers (underground rivers) .  These aquifers with capillary action to the surface (tilling inhibits this capillary action) will continue to bring water to the plants all season.  This whole process where the CO2 is taken out of the soil by the plants to make sugars and especially the carbon sponge is  the primary way that the carbon is sequestered into the soil.
  3. The small rain cycle is formed from plants transpiring and the ground evaporating water.  This water then precipitates down from the clouds with the help of bacteria from trees causing the raindrops to coalesce.  With this rain cycle water from one raindrop can stay in the system for 10 years and more, not going down the streams and rivers to the oceans, and thus not causing rising sea levels.  This carbon sponge alleviates both the droughts and the floods.


The no till growers I want to emphasize are like Gabe Brown, video at the bottom of this and Paul and Elizabeth Kaizer.    Gabe is practicing holistic grazing, is definitely organic, a major permaculture contributor,  and like many other holistic grazing folk doing major restoration of their land, so much so that in arid areas, they are bringing back streams and rivers, that have not run for hundreds of years.  He no till planted 30 acres of vegetables into his cover cropped and cattle grazed land, where he only gets 15 inches of rain a year,  and uses no irrigation.  He got great yields.  

This video gives you insights into another way to do permaculture, profitably and and with much less work.

Keys To Building a Healthy Soil – Organic – Permaculture and Polyculture

Gabe Brown Soil Conservationist – Explains how to remediate and build up your soil quality.


The Kaisers in Sebastopol, Ca have been doing no till for years on their market garden.  Whenever they take out a crop, they replant the same day.  They use compost in their system and we are inoculating with microbes instead.  This has been done by me for 20 years and in India for thousands of years and works very well..  The less we import into our gardens the better the carbon foot print of the garden.  The garden facilitates CO2 draw down from the atmosphere and puts it into the soil.
If you would like some background reading material on the Kaizer’s farming practices,  The full article “The Drought Fighter” is long, 9000 words or about a 30-45 minute read. A excerpt from this was reprinted in  Made Local Magazine and is about half that in size. Do not read both, the former just has a lot more in-depth information. Alternately if you wish to listen, there is an interview from Peak Prosperity from last May and a lecture Paul did this past July that are on YouTube.

The featured image for this post is “Albright College Garden” by Albright Garden and is licensed under CC BY 2.0