Articles, Blog

10 Gardening Products & Practices I’ve Abandoned & Why

November 29, 2019

Over the years I’ve abandoned a number of gardening products and practices that I grew up with or used in my own garden in the past. This process of elimination has allowed me to develop a low cost low effort approach to gardening that gets excellent results by focusing on what really works. Today I’ll share 10 gardening products and practices that I’ve abandoned over the years and why. I’ll start with 3 that my parents used in our family garden when I was growing up but my wife and I never adopted. The first is tilling. When I was a kid, my father tilled our family garden every spring. This made perfect sense to me at the time because the soil was usually compacted and full of weeds and tilling seemed to fix these problems, at least temporarily. But when my wife and I started our own garden in the early 90’s, we didn’t want to buy or rent a rototiller. Instead, we built a raised bed and filled it with compost. We never walked on the bed, and we added compost every year to the soil surface without digging it in. Using this approach, I couldn’t help but notice that, unlike my family’s garden when I was a kid, our soil never became compacted and we never had to do much weeding. Since then I’ve learned that tilling disrupts soil structure and can actually increase compaction. It destroys fungal hyphae, including mycorrhizal networks, and kills other beneficial soil organisms like earthworms. Finally, it brings weed seeds to the surface where they can germinate and create more of a weed problem. Instead, our approach is to let earthworms and other soil organisms do the tilling for us. We apply compost and mulch to the soil surface, and let soil organisms break it down and incorporate it into the soil. The only time we dig is to harvest root crops like potatoes or plant transplants like tomatoes. Using this approach, we never have a problem with soil compaction and we do essentially no weeding. The second gardening practice I grew up with but never adopted in my own garden is growing in rows. Growing in rows makes sense on large farms where space is needed between crops to operate machinery, but we don’t use machinery in our small garden. Instead, our priority is to grow as much as we can in our limited space. Growing in beds does just that by increasing growing space relative to walking space. It also reduces soil compaction by minimizing the area of ground that is walked on. We grow in beds that are 3 to 4 feet wide. This width allows us to easily reach the center from each side. Though we have raised beds, you can also grow in beds in your native soil simply by growing in 3 to 4 feet wide plots instead of narrow rows. The third practice I grew up with but never adopted is the use of synthetic fertilizers. Both of my parents grew up on farms after World War II when the use of synthetic fertilizers increasingly replaced traditional organic methods. On their farms, they used both synthetic fertilizers and organic methods and they carried over this approach to our family garden. But when my wife and I built our first raised bed, we made the decision to grow organically. At first we purchased organic compost and fertilizer, but we soon realized that compost, worm castings, and mulch from free local resources provide our soil and plants with all the nutrients, beneficial microbes, and organic matter they need. We prefer this approach over the use of synthetic fertilizers for many reasons. Simply put, compost, worm castings, and mulch from free local resources are more sustainable, better for the environment, and better for plants and the soil food web. If you’d like to learn more about why we prefer this approach over synthetic fertilizers, please see this link. The fourth product or practice we’ve abandoned is store bought compost. We did buy several yards of organic compost in the early 1990’s to fill our first raised bed. Doing so definitely jump started our garden at a time when we were very busy and didn’t have much experience making compost. But since then we’ve learned a lot about making compost and about the abundance of free local resources in our area. These resources are so plentiful and accessible that it just doesn’t make sense to me to buy compost anymore. Some of our favorite free and local compost ingredients are kitchen scraps, autumn leaves, grass clippings, yard waste, comfrey, aged wood chips, horse manure, straw, and spent brewery grains. We’re not only able to make all of our own compost with these materials, but we’re also able to keep these valuable resources out of landfills. The fifth item on our list is store bought organic fertilizer. We did buy organic fertilizers in the early days when we expanded our garden beyond our first raised bed and started growing in the native soil. The native soil was in pretty bad shape, so I do think the organic fertilizers probably helped. But as we ramped up our compost production, I began to wonder if the additional fertilizers were even needed. So, several years ago we stopped using them entirely and we’ve never seen any negative consequences as a result. In fact, one of my goals when I started this channel was to show that compost, worm castings, and mulch from free local resources can provide our plants and soil with all the nutrients they need and I sought to demonstrate this with both garden results and with a soil test. A soil test this spring showed nutrient surpluses and we can now actually reduce our compost applications to bring nutrient levels down. Numbers 6 and 7 are products that were never actually part of our gardening regime. Instead, we only used them in the context of a field trial to test their effectiveness, and based on the results we don’t plan to use them in the future. Number 6 is rock dust. For the field trial, we used a rock dust brand recommend by a leading rock dust advocate and applied it according to his instructions, including his recommended application rate. Compared to a control, the rock dust group produced significantly lower yields, rock dust tomatoes had slightly lower brix readings than control tomatoes, and while rock dust kale and collards fared well in a taste test, rock dust tomatoes were judged to taste not as good as control tomatoes. I’ll be continuing the rock dust field trial this year, but so far the results don’t support the hype. For a mineral amendment to be effective, there first has to be a mineral deficiency, and based on our soil test that does not appear to be the case. In fact, most soils contain the elements needed for plant growth, and usually compost alone can supply them when they’re missing. Finally, peer reviewed research does not support the purported benefits of rock dust. Number 7 is biochar. Unlike rock dust, the peer reviewed research on biochar is very promising. Biochar improves soil structure, increases nutrient and water retention, and its porous structure provides a habitat for beneficial microbes. As a result of these benefits, biochar has been shown to increase crop growth, improve drought tolerance, and increase resistance to root and leaf diseases. However, despite these benefits, we don’t plan to use biochar in the future because our soil already has the properties that biochar provides. Specifically, without biochar, our soil already has nutrient surpluses and a high cation exchange capacity, which means it holds nutrients well. It’s high in organic matter and, as a result, holds water very well. And our use of compost, worm castings, and mulch ensures a healthy population of beneficial microbes. And so far we haven’t seen superior yields from our biochar group in our field trial. Again, this is probably because our soil already has the properties that biochar provides. Biochar is much more likely to have a positive impact on poor soil than it is on soil that is already rich in organic matter, nutrients, and already teeming with beneficial microbes. One final reason we don’t plan to use biochar is that our soil is slightly alkaline. Biochar is very alkaline and we don’t want to risk raising our soil pH by adding biochar. The eighth product or practice we’ve abandoned is comfrey tea. We grow comfrey to use as mulch and a green compost ingredient and a couple years ago I made a batch or 2 of comfrey tea but I haven’t since then. We made it by submerging comfrey in a bucket of water for a few weeks, until the comfrey decomposed. We then poured the resulting brew on the soil as a liquid fertilizer. We initially stopped using comfrey tea simply because the fermented liquid smells very bad – like raw sewage – and the smell lingers in the garden for days. In addition to the smell, I don’t see much benefit in taking the time to make the tea. Even if the nutrients in the tea are more plant available, I’m not in a hurry to add nutrients to the soil anyway. I’d much rather simply chop and drop the comfrey as mulch which keeps the soil covered, provides a food source for earthworms, and takes less time and effort. So, no more comfrey tea for us! The ninth item on my list will probably be the most controversial – compost tea. Of all the things I’ve said in my videos, nothing has provoked more ire than my decision to stop using compost tea. This is definitely a topic people feel very strongly about. Compost tea is purported to restore beneficial microbes to the soil food web, protect plants against diseases like powdery mildew, and increase plant health and yields. Unfortunately, these claims haven’t been supported by peer reviewed research. In fact, research has shown compost to be more effective than compost tea at introducing beneficial microbes into the soil and improving plant resistance to disease. We stopped using compost tea entirely last year and noticed no negative impact in terms of plant health or yields. In fact, we had our best garden ever. And because we used to make compost tea every week, we now have more time to do other things. The tenth product or practice we’ve abandoned is turning compost frequently. If you need compost in a hurry, turning hot compost definitely helps. And I have no doubt that our garden has benefited from this practice over the years. But now that our soil is rich in organic matter and nutrients, we no longer need compost quickly. So, we can just let compost happen. We started this compost pile in the fall, but probably won’t use the compost until next fall. The pile initially heated up to about 130 degrees Fahrenheit but it has cooled off now that it is winter. In the spring, earthworms will move in and finish the job for us. This saves us a lot of time and effort, and it also saves my back, which isn’t as strong as it used to be. I hope this video has provided food for thought on how you might be able to save time and money by reevaluating certain gardening products and practices. Though some of these products and practices can be helpful at times, the needs of our gardens change over time. So, it’s important to reevaluate and adapt in response to new evidence and changing conditions. Well, that’s all for now. Thank you very much for watching. And until next time remember you can change the world one yard at a time. Trying to get in the shot, Oscar? Hey babe. Do you want to get in the shot? If you want compost in a hurry, turning hot compost definitely helps…. Yeah? Not going to let me do this?


  • Reply Ann Galbraith November 21, 2017 at 4:07 am

    What a great video! I for one am with you on the compost tea – its efficacy appears to be more urban legend than researched result.

  • Reply Susan Winslow November 28, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    hi I just heard about this channel. where are you gardening .I am in ontario canada so just wondering what i can use idea wise

  • Reply steven458791 December 5, 2017 at 4:06 am

    I think I've watched just about all your videos related to soil, and I'm pretty sure I'll be hearing the phrase "free local resources" in my sleep.

  • Reply JOY Abia December 16, 2017 at 4:28 pm


  • Reply The Health Adventurer December 19, 2017 at 12:45 am

    Thank you for sharing your journey and wisdom! I really like how you summarized this video, in that we need to always reevaluate our garden's needs as conditions change. I am new to gardening and have been a little overwhelmed by the hodge podge of information and products out there, but this helps put it into perspective! I agree that simplicity is best. After all, isn't that how nature works? 😀

  • Reply Joseph Collins December 28, 2017 at 10:25 am

    I've never used all those things and have a small vegetable garden that I have to keep sharing with neighbours as I cannot eat it fast enough 🙂

  • Reply Rolando Riggio December 31, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Peace. Thank you for making this video.

    Two Questions:

    How, where, or who do conduct soil tests with?

    Once you have the test data- how did you learn how to read it? Are there any resources that you'd recommend?

  • Reply Francis Lim January 13, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    It’s said that milk diluted are effective sprays on mildew as the bacteria controls the fungus,NATURES AT WORK.I once saw a documentary about secrets recipes from around the world.The reporter had asked the Asian farmer how come his PEACHES are so large ,juicy and extremely sweet,he said,well,I always has Excessive milk left over so I give them to my Peach trees,soil bacteria love it,cheap powder milk ok too.

  • Reply Mark January 17, 2018 at 3:50 am

    Nice video. Only liquid goodness I use is fish emulsion. Smells like… rotten fish, but I'll survive.

  • Reply Cindy Edwards January 17, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    I dropped out of gardening for awhile because I was older and felt that I was weak in the information to do so efficiently (too many rules that I didn't understand). Last year, I ran into a video by Charles Dowding (No Dig Gardening) and completely fell in love with the notion of gardening again. I have a blank canvas in my new backyard and I am watching all sorts of wonderful information and simply can't wait for spring!!! I subscribed. Keep teaching.

  • Reply Cindi Hawkins February 13, 2018 at 6:43 pm


  • Reply Zeljko Trifunovic February 22, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    raised beds drain faster and in extreme heat and need more water , use of boards comes from destruction of forests and back breaking work when it gets filled to the top and what with the depleted soil then ?

  • Reply Harry Porter February 25, 2018 at 3:59 am

    Love the video, as always

  • Reply Granville Bennet February 27, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    Makes sense

  • Reply judah Sina March 1, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    FYI Compost tea is usually for those who are not able to produce loads of compost, utilizing a small amount of compost to brew and multiply the beneficial microbes.  If you are blessed with enough nutrient rich compost high five!  Compost supplies organic matter which is vital to the health of soil biology,

  • Reply happyhound13 March 2, 2018 at 10:52 am

    I too grew up on a farm that used all the same practices you described. With my limited space and time I’ve adopted the same gardening techniques as you and am always challenging “the system.” One of my favorite things is to make my own compost and keep more out of landfills. I even bring home my coworkers throwaway plant matter like fruit peels and coffee grounds to add to my compost pile. My pet rabbits and chickens add more. Thanks for all the great videos and information.

  • Reply Saint Michael March 8, 2018 at 5:56 am

    Thank you. You give me much to think about. And I appreciate you research from peer reviews and personal experience. You cut away a lot of unnecessary gardening labor. And you speak with the authority of someone NOT interested in marketing some store product like the others pushing Rock Dust, Mittleider Method, Compost Tea, etc.

  • Reply luvbotany March 8, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    Your point about biochar is right on. Biochar promise is for carbon poor soils, not compost rich soils. You and others may get some long term benefits from biochar but they will be blunted by the compost itself and not worth the effort.

  • Reply moctezuma696 March 17, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you. Instructive and enjoyable. By the way, with your raised beds have you used the hugelkultur practice? What are your thought on it?

  • Reply Ray Hudson April 8, 2018 at 10:02 am

    The more I research soil and health the more I realise a good mulching is all you need.

  • Reply Michelle Hernandez April 11, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    Thank you for the comfrey tea tip. I was searching the internet for sources and thinking do I REALLY need to try this?

  • Reply smart451cab April 14, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Well, most of the products & practices you've quit using are because your soil is already outstanding. For newbies such as myself, the situation is very different. For me, my soil is pretty much how your soil was 15-20 years ago.

  • Reply Dalia Castello April 16, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    I dont use any teas. No rock dust. I only use composted horse manure. Seems to give my garden all it needs. All that other stuff seems to make things more complicated than it need to be. Although i do turn my soil i enjoy the work of turning

  • Reply Peggy April 17, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Where do you get free worm castings?

  • Reply Bob A April 18, 2018 at 12:04 am

    Outstanding video! makes me want to go out and start my own raised garden. I came looking for info on bio char. Subscribed, liked and notified.

  • Reply Permacultura A Nova Floresta April 20, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Saving time on non usefull technique is creating time for what matters. I think compost is useful when you are in a hurry and focused on vegetable production, and…, only at start. Here in Bahia my soil was so degraded (deforested) that making compost would have been a lost of time (lack of available organic matter and huge area to treat). My bet was to plant strong leguminous and the garden is now covered with leaves. Now when I plant a fruit tree I know that it will settle. When I clean the alleys from the leaves i make piles which produce cold composting and create worms niche. When I plant something in the middle of the vegetation I know it will grow slow at start but will have vivid green leaves. I have seen how disturbing the soil will ruin it and stop to support seedlings. Here in the tropics micelium and food forest is the only way for the vegetation to survive and finally thrive. I guess these 10 points apply here as well. One question though: half of YouTube videos warn people about avoiding the development of anaerobic bacteria in a compost and using oxygenated compost tea…, and the other half shows how to make stinky and anaerobic mixture with comfrey or nettle. It certainly raises the question ; is all this useful? It only shows in some extend that no real study has been made showing the validity of fermented compost tea … I believe chop and drop of comfrey leave is the best, less work and a slow process of degradation for edible nutrients…vegetation is at slow motion, people tend to forget that. About Rock dust it is still a question mark for me leaving in the tropics where the soil has been washed out for millions of years in high bacterial activity. When it comes to biochar I have heard that it could be counter productive in soil already fertile. Thanks for this synthetic video.

  • Reply Masca Trails April 22, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Love this whole soil health approach without focus on gimmicky solutions. Many of the things you mentioned are important tools in repairing degraded soils, but I agree that the goal of all the remediation is to eventually have naturally, biologically fertile soils and the living web that accompanies them. Besides comfrey, are there any other plants you grow simply for overall soil health?

  • Reply matermark May 9, 2018 at 6:41 am

    I've followed some of your videos and seen you had snow but where abouts are you, oh, and how long does it take for those coffee filters to disappear?

  • Reply KJR Channel May 13, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    I agree that many fall prey to folklore science in addition to marketing hype. The problem with charcoal is some go out of their way to burn and pollute the world. Even though nature seems to do it more at times. I do till for the reason to get coarse compost deep in the ground. I find that just using fine silty compost it just homogenizes into the clay and disappears. For me having potting soil(compost)on top of clay just dries out too fast and it can blow away, plus my clay when wet is like creamy peanut butter in its native form. It also cracks into big pieces the size of cinder blocks if allowed to dry. An occasional mixing of compost and actual dirt is a good thing. I have never fell for worm castings either because that comes naturally if your soil has worms. In my experience my soil is only as fertile and workable as the compost I put into it. This is also true for mulched areas. The soil underneath does not improve just by keeping moisture in. So lots of compost has to be worked in first. Aside from that I just compost and mulch.

  • Reply EcoCentric Homestead May 19, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    when you mentioned compost from free local resources, I thought something. I suspect that this also reduces the amount and severity of environmental allergies, just like eating local unpasteurized honey does.

  • Reply Cinnaminson Gardener May 27, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    In one spot (comfrey tea) it looks like you have used wood chips as mulch. I've heard various opinions on using wood chips – where do you come in on this subject? Also, are all wood chips equal? I have a pile of chips from pine limbs that fell in the storms this winter – is there a good place to use them besides the pathways between my boxes? I've been gardening for many years and have also abandoned some of these practices (tilling, compost tea etc.) Some of them I never started in the first place. I have learned a lot and really enjoy the straightforward style you have with these videos!

  • Reply John Kellas May 31, 2018 at 1:28 am

    We face a regional problem with respect to compost. It attracts wildlife such as bears, etc. I need to go off in search of ways others may have addressed that problem. I suspect the first step would be keeping the compost in the garage, but unsure of whether it would still be an attractant when added to the soil.

  • Reply Lucky 13 June 1, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    Couldn't agree more on the pseudoscience behind compost tea.

  • Reply Joyful Heart June 5, 2018 at 4:34 am

    Thank you so much for sharing all this that you’ve learned and experienced over the years!

  • Reply RIP Steady Yangin' June 22, 2018 at 2:00 am

    just being honest but the plants in your greenhouse sure look like the could benefit from some of the methods you abandoned lol

  • Reply Richard Kelly June 22, 2018 at 6:19 am

    great help thanks

  • Reply Kanzee June 22, 2018 at 8:26 am

    😎 👍

  • Reply mssavedin92 June 23, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    awesome information. Thankyou

  • Reply Thomas Pavelka June 27, 2018 at 3:27 am

    In a Green House? All bets are off.

  • Reply Chris June 28, 2018 at 4:13 am

    Compost tea and biochar are excellent however, if you can only grow in pots. Especially if you're growing heavy feeder, edibles. Because container soil, doesn't normally contain worms or microorganisms. The nutrients in compost if you have it in your container soil, can leach out from watering too. Biochar holds onto them longer than potting soil alone, and the compost tea ensures the plants always have nutrients available. But if you have a mature garden soil, I can see why you would drop those practices.

    We personally stopped turning compost, when we realised we never had enough resources to compost at one time. So we now dig a hole in the ground, or lay the compost materials straight on top. After several months, we'll move to another position and let the former pile mature a bit. Then we plant a perennial edible tree, shrub or vine, on top.

  • Reply Tom k June 28, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    excellent, thanks for sharing. glad i didnt pursue some of the more expensive items here that you perceive to not have much benefit.

  • Reply Shaun Fed July 10, 2018 at 1:31 am

    You had me at "peer reviewed research" … Subbed.

  • Reply John Wakamatsu July 12, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    I like the fact that you have experimented to see what works in your garden. I agree that environment changes for season to season and you have to refine your gardening techniques. I like the simple approach to gardening because plants grow in nature or do not grow depending upon the environment.

  • Reply benjamin massie July 19, 2018 at 8:54 pm


  • Reply Charles Casela July 25, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Hi OYR Frugal & Sustainable Organic Gardening! im curious if you stilll abandoned these methods or if you updated your practices

  • Reply john mizak July 27, 2018 at 12:40 am

    I recently experimented with making tea for the first time, not from finished compost, but from used coffee grounds and some slightly aged horse manure. I diluted the tea approximately 3:1 with water. I put it into a watering can and applied it thoroughly to a small bed of small red russian kale and turnip green plants that seemed to be struggling to grow, and generally didn't look real healthy after being planted for a month or so. After 4-5 days from the time I watered them "one time" with the manure/coffee ground tea, the plants suddenly exploded with new growth and the leaves turned a very healthy deep green. The size of the leaves of both the red russian kale and turnips got much bigger than leaves of comparable plants in other beds that didn't get the tea. I'm a firm believer in using the tea from what I am seeing. I have since used the tea on other plants in the garden with the same results… sudden explosive growth. I had perpetual spinach leaves that were getting 10" long not including the stem, lol!

  • Reply Ar.OsamaB July 29, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    So rock dust is a myth

  • Reply Havad July 30, 2018 at 3:10 am

    Do you have an opinion on giving worms meat, bones, dairy, a bit of oil?

  • Reply John Niscavits August 15, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Taylor guitars, eh? Are you a player? Nice video

  • Reply linzerpa September 3, 2018 at 12:05 am

    Wow, such great info and well done. It is great to not have to re-invent the wheel and get the perspective of someone who tried lots of different things. Thanks!

  • Reply Ramona Macabugao September 4, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Oscar wanted to say something at the end of the video. Thank you for great info.

  • Reply Marcia W September 10, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Hmmmmmm, hmmmmmm, yeah. Food for thought. I think I'm turning the compost pile too often.

  • Reply Bloomfell Rareuiox September 13, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    These benefits will help assist with my experience

  • Reply Everything September 14, 2018 at 3:53 am

    I just love how you have timestamps in the description box.

  • Reply Nancy Sutton September 15, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Need to remember that since you use raised beds, you've literally created your own soil, independently from whatever your native soil is… sandy, clay, etc. Makes a big difference when you don't have to deal with any problems that the original soil has…. and pretty easy with a very small space. For someone who has more space and/or less 'starting $', the homemade biochar, comfrey tea, etc. maybe lifesavers until organic content can be built up. BTW, how many square feet is your garden space?

  • Reply Nancy Sutton September 15, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    How many sq feet do you garden? Good to remember that in a raised bed you create your own soil, with initially purchased compost, topsoil, organic fertilizers, etc… the type of original soil is irrelevant… btw, is yours clay? sandy? For someone with more garden and/or less $, homemade comfrey tea, biochar, mulches, etc. can be lifesavers.

    Also, do you have any problems with symphlans? Tiny creatures that can become pests in soils with high organic matter… have been a problem here in the PNW. Where are you?

  • Reply Janika September 23, 2018 at 8:42 am

    What I really love about your videos is that they're so calm and non-hysteric. You don't adapt to this annoying habit of content creators to keep everything short and rushed in order to get more clicks. It's very refreshing.

  • Reply ravenhawk007 September 27, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    I don't mean my comments to imply that I disagree with most of your other positions regarding practices you have abandoned. It's just that I have VERY strong opinions about the benefits of trace minerals, and those opinions are backed up with personal experience. The comments regarding "rock dust" might be applicable to the soils in the far north, but in the SE our soils don't have the benefit of having been recently "fertilized" with minerals from rocks ground fine by glaciers. And the comment about "most soils contain all the minerals plants need" is but a guess since gardeners generally do not test for trace minerals that are needed by plants in PPM or PPB amounts. And compost can only supply minerals IF the ingredients were grown on soil with those minerals. Since I don't know what "rock dust" was used I can't comment on its effectiveness other than to say that if a trial produced a lower amount of produce because of rock dust then something went very wrong in the soil chemistry.

  • Reply Trish Moon October 3, 2018 at 1:23 am

    I love this list – thank you so much for explaining why you have abandoned these practices that most of us use. I'm curious about the no tilling. I'd like to use one of my raised beds for yard waste but am concerned about attracting rodents and raccoons. Can you suggest an easy low-cost answer to keep them away? Thanks so much for your help!

  • Reply Mary Chandler October 5, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    I DO use rock dust in my vermicompost, to help give grit to the worms.

  • Reply inguracka October 7, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Great information! I just got my first row from my friend to test for the next season. Right away I asked them to not till mine and I bought compost this week to fill it in. I want no dig garden, where I would probably grow is square foot manner – or anything that would allow me to grow more in less space. I read a number of books and it surprised me that people often write and talk about the abundance of free local resources and materials. In my country you can never get anything for free, they better throw away stuff than give it for the others, I rang around many different farms and shops and I still had to pay for a bag of manure, coffee grounds, wood scraps – everything costs and my first bed is probably will get as expensive as buying organic produce, but I am investing in this like a hobby and hoping it will cost me less in a few years once i have beds and good soil built up in place.

  • Reply Ina Alexander October 9, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    I just love your kitty cat! His white paws are so clean!

  • Reply Ana Larson October 18, 2018 at 12:54 am

    love this video, great reminders of the dos and donts, always inspiring, can't wait for tomorrow and garden.

  • Reply cindy o October 22, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Thanks so much for the helpful info. I also have learned a lot since I first started gardening — frugality and simplicity are my goals. Question: I notice that there are no weeds between your raised beds. At one point because of my lack of ability to control weeds, I almost gave up gardening! Please share how you keep the area between your beds weed free. Thanks.

  • Reply Jo Hail October 23, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    I live in florida…I’ll probably need some of these things

  • Reply Bruce Achterberg November 24, 2018 at 2:26 am

    I love your research-based approach. So refreshing when compared with the low-effort, "low hanging fruit," and often, misleading and inaccurate content out there.

  • Reply Sew Me December 5, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    probly the best vid youll ever make, goes for the series too: stuff NOT to do, Part 1.

  • Reply 3D Clothes December 27, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Thank you for the advice. This will save me a lot of work and make me more successful in my gardening.

  • Reply Francis Lim February 4, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Your experiences are like those of the natural forest which is self serving and self sufficient,nobody fertilise the forest yet its grows lusciously,it has behave in a permaculture ways,no mass crops growing,fallen leaves,animals manure and decaying woods are not being dug or disturbed but left to break down on it own allowing micro fungi and organisms to flourish,producing all the essential nutrients required for growth naturally.

  • Reply Debbie Henri February 15, 2019 at 7:28 am

    That's helpful to know you have abandoned the idea of using compost tea and comfrey tea. I have friends who use both and another that uses nettle tea (which you didn't mention).
    Until now, I've always felt a little guilty that I didn't make any of them (I have an extremely sensitive sense of smell and find these teas abhorrent to say the least).
    However, I do make my own 'chop and drop' composts from fern leaves, bracken leaves, dead leaves pulled from a neighbouring stream (don't like to see all that nutrition going to waste, especially knowing that decaying matter adds to the atmospheric methane problem once in water), from thick mosses that grow over stone walls, and I have a couple of grand Comfrey plants that appeared in my garden quite by chance (just as I was thinking I ought to buy some).
    This is probably a weird one you don't do. When I find crumbly decaying sticks on my woodland forages, I place them on a frequently used path in my garden, let my boots do the work of breaking them up as I wander back and forth, and once they have broken down sufficiently, they can be scooped up and put in a border, bed or container. This way I have brought in additional fungi that helps control a problem fungus (namely Honey Fungus) that attacks some of my trees and shrubs.
    Another way I use twigs and sticks to my advantage is to stack them high by 2 fences. This stops neighbouring sheep from sticking their heads through and eating plants, provides songbirds with nesting sites (encouraging the insect eaters), encourages frogs and toads and beneficial beetles, and the twigs continually break down to supply a rich compost at the bottom. This is really helping the thin, stony soil and promotes the growth of proper hedging plants near the fence.
    I am just in the process of moving my allotment area to another part of the garden. Full of Ramanas Roses, spring bulbs and Rosebay Willow Herb, it will have to be dug very deeply – hopefully it will be the first and last time I do this.

  • Reply Brad Horner February 15, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    That cat must like it there.

  • Reply T Huss February 17, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    Bury some 4 inch poly pipe in your compost and pump the warm air to heat your greenhouse

  • Reply Claire Bear February 19, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    Great information thanks.

  • Reply Daniel 4774 February 20, 2019 at 3:22 am

    Food for thought. Thanks. Keep it simple and it works. No need to be insecure and over do it ✌

  • Reply mohammad medy khalil zadeh February 20, 2019 at 7:17 am

    Amazing method of scientific testing. Great channel

  • Reply Michael Niesner February 20, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    lol love the cat tax!

  • Reply Virginia O'Flaherty February 21, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Thank you for producing this information rich video. I subscribed. Thank you for not making the video a vehicle for ego display. I appreciate the succinct explanations, complete with rationale. Great Job.

  • Reply Diane Rogers February 21, 2019 at 11:04 pm

    This video is very informative and helpful, I'm sure it will save me money, and time. I subscribed, 🙂

  • Reply Lisa A Johnson February 23, 2019 at 1:58 am

    Everything you said about tilling is wrong! It absolutely DOES NOT destroy the soil in any way!! This is just BS perpetuated by those pushing their own garden methods. Raised beds are nice for older folks and urban gardens, however even those would highly benefit from a good tilling once a year. Of course pathways get compacted, however when was last time you saw plants growing pathways….😒
    Lame arguments to dish a tried and true method of gardening that provided your ancestors food and should be doing the same for anyone today.

  • Reply Fainites Barley February 23, 2019 at 9:02 am


    Love it

  • Reply Fainites Barley February 23, 2019 at 9:08 am

    We are lucky enough to have a horse manure and straw delivery at our allotments. It rots down in a few months.

  • Reply jon smith February 26, 2019 at 12:21 pm

    where do you get the free compost and worm castings? 3:18

  • Reply Dr Gurmeet Singh,Counsellor & Psychiatrist February 26, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Paper ash.banana compost.fresh green brewed liquid fertilizer

  • Reply jayjay February 27, 2019 at 6:44 am

    What do you do when its impossible to add mulch yearly because the raised beds have become full.

  • Reply Mark Myers February 27, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    I made small batches of compost from my grass clippings, leaves and a bit of soil. Mostly because I never made it before… and the results were pretty good. At Dr. appointment I asked the Dr. about tomatoes. she said they were not doing as well as last year. I asked " did you change the dirt? " she looked surprised and said.. "No" so I gave her a bag of my compost. Let me point out… in keeping the compost hot I added a good amount of coffee grounds as well as lot of ground up eggshells (they were run through a coffee mill). The next time we saw the Dr. she wanted to know what the recipe was because my compost "did the trick" So I'm not going to discount the practice of making compost. I totally agree with those six practices you dropped because you don't need them. Especially synthetic fertilizers. I have tilled for years but am finding the need to be less and less as more organic material is put into my soil.

    FWI I cut a hole in the top part of a plastic milk jug, leaving the handle. I take the just to a small local restaurant that serves excellent breakfast. The cook goes through eggs like you wouldn't believe and puts the shells in the jug for me. I get more eggshells in a few hours than I would otherwise get in a year or more. Great supply of calcium for your tomatoes.

  • Reply Mark Myers February 27, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    Free local materials? I get leaves from 3 big maple trees around our block. I have a 5.5 by 4.5 bin that is at the moment about 3 foot deep with twice mowed leaves. Who needs a soil test? Those trees are bringing up nutrients and minerals from as far down in the ground as the tree is tall. Worms convert it. After a while, the soil will be just like said your soil is… more nutrition than could ever be supplied with commercial fertilizer, which would kill the worms anyway.

  • Reply Ray From The Hayclan March 3, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    If your garden is doing really well sounds like you're doing everything right. Keep on doing what you doing. As my father always said work smarter not harder.

  • Reply sweetkiller1190 March 8, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    how do you battle slugs and aphids?

  • Reply Lee tullberg March 10, 2019 at 12:12 am

    Patrick, where did you get your soil test done, and what was the cost? It seems much more in depth than any I have had done.

  • Reply Rebecca L March 22, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    Oh good, I can be a mostly lazy gardener.

  • Reply GunClingingPalin March 24, 2019 at 12:21 pm

    AZOMITE contains many trace minerals that the plant uptakes, and whether the plant benefits from it or not, or even suffers from it, the plant still converts what it uptakes into an organic form, and the end user, us, benefits from all the organic forms of these trace minerals.. the organic ring is key 😉 so grow it :)… Something interesting that gave me insight into this a bit was how they make organic Selenium, for livestock supplementation.. They put the chemical form in the growing medium of yeast, and as the yeast grows it incorporates the selenium and gives it that ring.. ya know the one that the body assimilates readily. Thanks for the post. Love your vids.

  • Reply Sypher April 4, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    I agree with all of these. Compost really is the key to having a healthy, productive garden. If you have good compost, you don't need fertilizer, additives, insecticides, tilling – and you can grow more plants! I don't turn my compost and it does just fine by itself – just takes a bit longer.

  • Reply Ed19601 April 29, 2019 at 4:03 pm


  • Reply Forever North's Sanctuary April 30, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Excellent gardening practices,…keep it up. North

  • Reply Gerry Clough May 14, 2019 at 4:56 am

    Did you aerate the comfrey and compost teas? I got little to no smell from mine.
    Although I'm no longer making and using them either because I spend my time making compost and feeding my worms.
    Still building my garden and it's soil and can't wait for the time it's at your level.
    Very nice and informative video

  • Reply helio2k July 2, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Can you make a Video of interpreting a soil test and fixing approches of different secenarios?

  • Reply Terry Canam September 30, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    Great things to abandon! Bio char is great, but if you are already using compost and not using any chemicals, bio char is like adding water to water. You still have water. Compost tea is great if you have a brand new garden and want to quickly boost bacteria or fungal counts, but it does nothing else other than that. If you are using compost tea over and over, you are again, adding water to water and expecting it to turn into something else. Love your garden!

  • Reply Bob Brawley October 13, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    I came for the debunking if biochar but was surprised and delighted with the debunking of compost tea for gardens that are well composted . But must consider that compost tea as a foliage spray is still valid

  • Reply Jennifer Ruiz-Arzola October 24, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you for this video!

  • Reply Timothy Black November 4, 2019 at 6:53 am

    One way to speed up compost piles, as long as they are fairly large, is to thrust a number of end capped hollow bamboo, or PVC, pipes into the center bottom of the pile. You then remove the caps. The pipes provide oxygen to the pile interior, as well as some moisture. The heat rising just above the pipes pulls fresh air into the pile center.

    Some people jab loads of them in, all helter skelter, to provide fresh air on all strata.

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