For centuries, gardeners have been digging up their garden soil, because they were taught that cultivation aerates the soil, incorporates organic matter, and brings pests to the surface. However, tilling the soil destroys the microorganisms and mycorrhizae in the soil that break down the organic matter naturally. Double digging or tilling also damages the soil structure, encourages erosion, brings weed seeds to the surface, and kills earthworms who would naturally aerate the soil and provide excellent fertilizer.
Instead of digging up the soil, kids can apply mulches of organic matter to their fruit trees and garden beds. In the picture above, Paul is growing dragon fruit, asparagus, strawberries, and squash with shade cover and mulch. The mulch increases the depth of top soil and provides a home for worms and microorganisms. When kids pile mulch on their raised bed veggie garden, the mulch blocks the weeds and eliminates the need to trample the soil while working in it. Kids can create a compost bin filled with leaves, twigs, straw, cardboard, kitchen vegetable scraps, and coffee grinds. By layering fresh green plant scraps with brown dry leaves in their compost bin to cook under a lid, kids can make terrific food for their organic veggie garden.