Hey folks, hoping to get some good advice on my first post as a total newbie (and NOT a natural greenthumb). I have recently become interested in soil ecology and pest control (I'm an exterminator -- I call myself a "double agent"). Maintaining a good soil ecology where beneficials outnumber pathogens and plants are getting everything they need to stay resistant is definitely the key to "pest control" in the lawn and garden. In fact, I transitioned to all organic no-till halfway through the season last year and got amazing results.
Here's the problem, my garden and home have VERY high pest and disease pressure. It's a 110+ yr old former punk house rental in the middle of North Portland, Oregon. We have every pest you could think of and some you wouldn't. Unfortunately this plagued my plants and without very regular Neem Ninja and high quality vermicompost tea applications I believe that I would have had 99% mortality in my basement starts. I lost about 50%. Those that did survive indicated instances of mosaic virus on cucurbits, root canker on tomatoes, blights on legumes, etc. It was difficult to diagnose everything, and I'm too cheap to get lab testing.
OK so here is my question: Do I till my garden this year in hopes to nuke off some of those microscopic pathogens, or do I leave it? At this point it hasn't been tilled in about two years and I have applied lots of fun compost teas so I'm wondering if I have a decent enough population to keep relying on teas and Neem Ninja to keep the pathogens at bay. It's been a mild year so far and the soil might even have time to dry out a little unlike the past two years which were very wet. My garden is currently covered with fabric then a 3" layer of soil "Mulch." I realize the best thing to do would be fallow for a few years, but it's a rental, and I want to practice gardening. I want to learn how to best these pests and get my yields! Please, any feedback is welcomed, Thanks.