The benefits of cover crops, composting, and planting in beds rather than rows are widely known, and they're dealt with in depth here. More controversial is Reich's injunction to rigorously preserve the natural layering of the soil--even when pulling up weeds, dead annuals, or old corn stalks. He makes a good case: tilling under weedy areas kills existing weeds in the short term, but turning over the dirt exposes more weed seeds to sunlight and air, and more of them will germinate; better to kill them first by mowing and self-composting or smothering them with mulch. In addition, Reich explains, water in broken-up, uniform soil tends to flow straight down; water in undisturbed soil travels more slowly, in different directions--down and sideways--thus more efficiently reaching roots. Installing a drip irrigation system further decreases water use (the book includes detailed instructions and formulas for calculating water-flow and timing) and, like many of Reich's recommendations, apparently works best when practiced in concert with his no-till, "top-down" method.
What isn't clear is how effective his system can be in an area that has been worked over by indifferent landscapers or that has already been tilled over and over for years. How long will it take for that plot's soil to resettle into something resembling its pretilled state? If my mom starts "weedless gardening" now, will she be wading through a forest of weeds or, worse, buying tasteless corn at the supermarket come August? --Liana Fredley
Good info and lots of details. Reich gets a little anal about not disturbing the soil when pulling weeds, but generally good. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Eric the Grey
Reich has a great blog - a wonderful, realistic approach to gardening without hype and trendy advice that does not have longevity. Read morePublished 2 months ago by olives
Favorite go to book for our small organic farm. Getting the weeds to stay down is half the battle. We get lots of rain and lots of weeds just waiting to be set loose by tilling. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Carlos Rico
Having read and loved Ruth Stout's take on weed-free gardening in Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, the Busy, and the Indolent, I was interested to see what else I could learn... Read morePublished 6 months ago by E. White
this book has so much information! We are farmers and this book gives so many ideas that gives so much food for thought. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mickey A. Stolt
He's covering some old ground with a couple of new twists. I think he gave Ruth Stout short shrift and didn't even mention Lasagna Gardening. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Leslie Jones
I'm basically a "native plant gardener" and am hoping to get my garden to a place where it will continue with less work from me and more time available to sit and watch the... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Sally S.