Ken Hargesheimer
4 min readMar 26, 2017



USA: TX, MS, FL, CA, AR, WA, OH; México, Rep. Dominicana, Côté d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Honduras, Kenya,

Malawi, Mozambique, Haití, England, India, Uzbekistan, South Africa, Indonesia, Liberia, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Zambia Box 1901, Lubbock TX 79408–1901

Workshops in organic, no-till, permanent bed gardening, mini-farming and mini-livestock farming, worldwide, in English & Español

Organic, No-till Gardening

¡There is unlimited proof that this is the best way to garden!

Every gardener should garden according to these practices which are ecologically sustainable, environmentally responsible, socially just and economically viable. The gardener needs only seed.

Poor, unhealthy soil is the reason for low yields. The solution is organic matter and no chemicals.

Organic, no-till gardening in permanent beds, with permanent paths, using hand tools, takes almost no funds, increases yields 50 to 100%, reduces labor by 50 to 75%, reduces expenses to nearly 0, creates healthy soil with high fertility, stops soil compaction, rainwater runoff, soil erosion and eliminates most weed, disease and insect problems.

With no-till, organic matter [green manure/cover crops or weeds or crop residue] generates the following results:

v The mulch gradually rots into the soil providing a constant supply of nutrients while eliminating composting.

v Moisture retention due to the mulch means reduced need for watering; saving both resources and labor.

v Mulch prevents weeds from growing, reducing another laborious chore.

v Because of greater nutrients, plants can be planted twice as densely as normally recommended.

v The combination of denser spacing and healthy soil means a fourfold increase in yield. Josef Graf has promoted organic gardening/landscaping since 1988, since 1972 and since 1974. At the time of my visit: an India gardener has been for 5 years; a Malawi gardener has been [vegetables] for 25 years [model garden]; Ruth Stout [read her books] had a no-till garden for 25 years and 7,000 visitors.

No technique yet devised by mankind has been anywhere near as effective at halting soil erosion

and making food production truly sustainable as no-till (Baker)

1. No garden tractor, no tiller, no sprayer, no fertilizers, no chemicals, no pesticides, no herbicides.

2. Loans [small]:

3. Healthy soil produces healthy plants for high yields. Resists insects and diseases.

4. Healthy soil is made by adding organic matter [cover crops or mulch or compost].

5. Soil always covered: crops, cover crops, mulch, compost.

6. No rain water run off; all goes into the soil.

7. Crops: grains, fruits, vegetables, spices, nuts, fibers, flowers, gourds, herbs, etc. [stevia, etc]

8. Orchards, vineyards, etc put in cover crops [perennials?] cut and leave as mulch.

9. Use green manure/cover crops [legumes, & non-legumes, etc] to add organic matter to the soil.

10. Intercropping and/or crop rotation

11. External organic matter [leaves, grass clippings, etc. Free? Use as mulch or compost. Use old pallets for bins tied together with electrical ties.]

12. Weeds; never let go to seed; cut and leave as mulch

13. Leave all crop residue on top of the soil.

14. No biochar.

15. No-till: no digging, no cultivating Destroys organic matter, etc. Worms and roots will till.

16. Permanent beds. Used 2000 BC in Mexico & Guatemala. [3–6 ft. wide; any length]

17. Permanent paths [covered with free tree chips? 15–20% of the garden is in paths and that saves 15–20% of the seed, labor, time and water, if irrigating] Yields will be much higher.

18. Diy hoop houses/ high tunnels to extent season.

19. Shade cloth to extend season.

20. Transplants: Start seed indoors as needed.

21. Support for climbing plants: tomato cages, trellises. Make them using cattle and/or hog panels.

22. Open-pollinated seed [no hybrids; no GMOs]

23. Tools: machete, hoe, scythe, yoyo, stirrup hoe, cart/wagon

24. Irrigation: Buy or diy drip lines or diy bucket drip. Or use wood screws every 12 inches.

25. Moscovies: Should be in every garden. Eats bad insects, roosts in trees, needs little purchased food. Good eggs and meat. .

26. Imitate nature. Most gardeners fight nature.

¡Nature always wins!











K. Winter production.

L. Kitchen gardeners international,

M. American Horticultural Therapy Association [emotional healing, etc]

Available: organic, no-till minifarming and/or organic, no-till farming [small tractor].

Ken Hargesheimer

Garden centers promote the use of chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, GMOs, etc because it is profitable for them; not because it is best for the garden. No one profits promoting organic, no-till gardening: nothing to sell.

Thank you for all the info. I am applying it in my own vegetable patch. It is working. Got half a pocket of potatoes off a square metre. So would imagine about 10 pounds per square yard. This off previously dead low, carbon soil. Sure next crop will be better. Your advice is so simple. People do not believe me when I tell them. I am so excited about growing things now. This coming from a commercial plum farmer. Jeremy Karsen,

“We sold the tiller. The best gardening move we ever made.” Andrea

VA: I’m a left-over from the original soils list, was converted then to no-till. Had our first hard frost last night, but I was prepared with the help of Coleman’s “Four-Season Harvest”. Our beds produce year ‘round, never mono-crop, mostly volunteers. Amazingly simple. My 99 year old mother, who grew up on a Michigan farm, is still shocked at how well this works. Even with last winter’s 6 feet of snow. Tom Vincent

I confirm Ken’s advice. I’ve been using mulch and no-till since the late sixties. It works. It really works. I now manage a 5,000 ft² community garden in its fifth season. It started on hard clay with turf grass using cardboard and mulch. Leaves are added to the beds every fall and it has never been tilled. It’s a beautiful, fruitful garden. I have friends who have sand and advised them to do the same. They’ve been very successful as well. It will work anywhere. Judith Hainaut

Free workshops when expenses are paid.