Reduced tillage/no-till farming models have grown in popularity in the last few decades. Farmers have began to realize that it's better to work with nature than against it. Tilling inverts soil layers, harms microbial communities, can lead to compaction and erosion and has been shown to be harmful to soil health in the long run. A power harrow is used on the farm to establish and maintain the growing beds - it's tines spine vertically and penetrates the soil to a maximum depth of about 4 inches. Broadforking is an integral part of bed preparation and helps to condition the soil at depth in a less impactful way. By focusing more on a living soil approach and attempting to not invert our soil layers the soil is more alive and helps to increase nutrient availability, increase aeration, increase water holding capacity, reduce weed pressure, and increase CO2 sequestration
The health of the microorganisms in our soil is also maintained by ensuring pesticides, insecticides and fungicides are never applied to our soil or plants. Only organic inputs are used. Pests are controlled via insect netting that creates a physical barrier between the pest and plant. We use a method called occultation or tarping to control weeds and speed the decomposition of crop residue. Our customer get the peace of mind knowing that that our produces is as chemical free as possible/
On the farm cover crops such as oats & peas and buckwheat are used to fix nitrogen, add organic matter, loosen compacted soils, smother and outcompete weeds. At the end of the cover crop's growth cycle, but prior to them producing viable seeds, they are flail mowed and incorporated back into the soil.
Following the model of many successful market gardeners, we've opted to use a walk behind tractor and human labour for almost all farm tasks. (We do like tractors for moving compost and manure!) Our walk behind tractor helps to reduce compaction, is more maneuverable and matches our small scale. Hand tools are largely used for weed and bed preparation.