The battle lines are drawn. The organic camp tells me that the trillions of life forms occupy and share different levels of the soil. Tilling said soil destroys their universe and thereby causes many to sleep, and by sleep I mean to die.
To till or not to till, that really is the question. Whether it is healthier to leave the microorganisms alone in the soil, or take the long handled fork against the compacted planting bed and, by tilling, end them by aeration.
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks forced upon them is something we may wish as it exposes the ghastly organisms to the sunlight and hence to die to sleep. To sleep; perchance that is not bad; and with apology to Shakespeare, there’s the rub.
On the other side are the industrialists who believe we can control everything. Natural disasters cannot be avoided; erect taller buildings, build longer bridges and larger ships and planes. If we have a disaster we will correct the problem on the next build.
The battle lines were drawn many years ago. On one side are gardeners who believe in the natural order of things. The earth has a way of maintaining balance and correcting problems, both natural and manmade, without our assistance.
With respect to the big picture, our ability to influence decisions pretty much drops to zero as soon as we step off that domain we call our yard. We do control how we maintain our planting beds, and accept responsibility for keeping it healthy in concert with the life forms that call the soil home.
The no till group will tell you that microorganisms stick together. They, along with the bugs and insects, have a preferred soil depth where they live and thrive. Tilling the soil destroys the natural order of things.
Colonies are forced to mix with other microorganisms and they will, over time, re-colonize; and while they are re-colonizing they are not assisting the plants. The solution is to just top dress the planting beds with two-inches of compost before planting.
Tilling advocates acknowledge the role of microorganisms in maintaining healthy plant growth, and argue that loosening the soil benefits root development and increases the amount of soil air and oxygen that the microorganisms need. They point out that with trillions of microorganisms in a cupful of soil, are they really segregated?
If you have poor drainage, or a clay soil, or plant in rows, or little organic matter; then you should till.