Le Potager du Sloth: garden without efforts with hay. Hay: a super-material "in 4 1"
DR photos: Didier Helmstetter.
Introductory photo: vegetables grown in soil never worked - no spade, no pickaxe, no hoe, no grelinette ... And of course, without using a tiller!
The use of hay, instead of other materials (straw, compost, bark, leaves ...), is the key to the device. It plays critical roles 4, allowing the gardener to laze.
First, like any opaque coverage (if the thickness is sufficient), it blocks the annual weeds that germinate more. No need to hoe or draw.
Secondly, it maintains an intense biological life in the soil, including earthworms (especially those of the group of "anecic worms", which dig vertical galleries). They will be numerous and very active because they are well fed. In fact, it's a whole armada of organizations working to "work" and build the soil. This activity results in the secretion of glus. It triggers a process of "aggradation" of the soil (the opposite of "degradation"). Thus naturally, without any work, this leads, in a few months, to a soil "which is presented as couscous". No need to dig or pass the grelinette. "And above all, do not use a tiller, who slaughters worms by shredding them! "
In addition, the cover provides protection of the soil and its organisms against aggression: the "lumps" (aggregates) that form are not degraded by the impact of raindrops; even under violent storms, and despite the slope, it has no trace of erosion, no fine particles carried away; the fertility remains. Protected from the wind and the sun, the soil is kept moist which favors the activity of organisms and the growth of plants. No need to weed so that the soil remains loose and airy.
Finally, the decomposition of hay provides the soil, and thus the plants, with all the nutrients essential for their growth. And not only the few "major" elements (the famous NPK) that we bring with fertilizers. These elements were taken from the grassland during grass growth, which absorbed everything a plant needs. Hay is therefore also a "very complete organic fertilizer", slow release since it must first be decomposed, which is done naturally according to the rate of growth of plants (the soil organisms that take care of follow also the rhythm of the seasons). No need to fertilize! Even manure, "which is only what remains of the hay when it has crossed the digestive tract of the animals, who have taken their nutrients from it, mixed with straw, still poorer," is without interest!
This is, in summary, the "natural springs" on which this approach is based ... And that explains why the results are so spectacular.
It should be noted that the straw (except using "organic" straw) contains residues of various treatments suffered by the cereal, including fungicides often sprayed just a few weeks before harvest, shorteners, herbicides, while the hay from natural grassland has not, as a rule, been treated. "All the more reason to favor hay instead of straw! "...
Last surprise: "It should also be noted that this way of doing works much better and faster by installing a kitchen garden in a meadow or grass or even a fallow land". In a "classical" garden, the soil will have been bludgeoned and partly poisoned, the population of anecic worms will be weak or non-existent in case of intensive use of the tiller, mineral fertilizers and some pesticides even "bio" (copper , commonly used in "organic", is a poison for soil, worms, fungi, mycorrhizae, it is fixed there). In the case of such a soil, it will be necessary to persevere sometimes half a dozen years before the natural mechanisms take again the top! In a meadow, it will be enough of 6 months or 1 year so that everything is "top"!