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Featured Resource: The Living Soil Handbook

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

Soil is a living biological system with a local, personal context for farmers and market gardeners. In efforts to build topsoil and regenerate degraded soils, minimizing soil disturbance, keeping soil covered, maximizing living roots, and creating a diverse hab

itat for biology to work for you are essential to soil health. In his book The Living Soil Handbook: The No-Till Grower’s Guide to Ecological Gardening, Jesse Frost of Rough Draft Farm and No-Till Growers discusses the cultural methods he and his wife use on their farm and market garden operation to reduce labor, encourage biology, and repair ecosystems through use of no-till principles and practices. Frost shares specifically from his experience and

conversations with other no-till growers about no-till systems. He emphasizes that soil disturbance can take many different cultural, chemical, physical, and ecological forms. The Living Soil Handbook covers topics such as specific no-till garden crops, plant bed management, composting, mulching, and ways to enhance photosynthesis activity with intercropping and relay cropping, while addressing the advantages of no-till methods on carbon cycling, moisture infiltration and retention, and building nutrient-rich topsoil that teems with life.

Frost, J. (2021). The Living Soil Handbook: The No-Till Grower’s Guide to Ecological Gardening. Chelsea Green Publishing. Available online at and

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