In the past, I have only dabbled in no-till gardening with moderate success. But, this year, I want to do it for real. I'm already familiar with the basics but want to know more about the practical application. Is anyone currently practicing no-till? Can you give me some advice?
A litlle info on my situtation: My garden is located in the Central Valley on the border of zone 9a and 9b. We have a 5 month dry, hot season. The soil is a sandy loam with no hardpan. All rocks and pebbles have been removed. I have been good about applying OM to the soil a few times a year. Weeds are not a real problem, since it is a fairly small area (about 300 sq ft) and they are pulled fairly often. The only pests I have are aphids and whiteflies during the hot, dry months. No disease, ever. I did have a problem with nematodes toward the end of the season last year. I left the soil bare and cultivated it often during the Fall and Winter. So, that should no longer be a problem. The garden is too small to rotate properly.
I have continually access to OM from kitchen scraps, chicken manure and bedding (timothy hay or wheat straw) and old feed (homemade grain/seed/legume mixture). Right now, I am trying to slow compost in perferated 32 gallon plastic garbage cans. This is to save on space and cut down on rodents. I also just purchased a 3x2x4 bale of straw. This should be enough for at least a 4" layer of mulch on my beds.
My only biggest concerns are water conservation, cooling the soil in summer, maintaining/improving soil fertility and preventing a reccurance of nematodes. Water concervation is the biggest since we are in a continual drought here. Most summer days, I have to water at least everyday or every other day to prevent flowering dropping. I would like to not have to do this again this year.