I am very humbled that all of you have taken what I have written about how the soil functions as a biological system to heart and are making your land use decisions accordingly.
Kate - You are spot on with the idea of feeding the life in the soil instead of trying to feed plants directly. Modern agronomy has become lost, adding "crop nutrients" to the soil as if it were a bucket that plants eat from. Plants feed the soil and the soil feeds the plants, regardless of where the nutrients come from (air, fertilizer, compost, soil minerals, etc.).
Leigh - You are indeed headed in the right direction and that is what is critical to success. Restoring soil health is not a race, you just need to head in the right direction. The first few years are a leap of faith that you must take to get on the path to soil restoration. If you focus on restoring soil health and let that drive your decision-making process you will continue to make progress. The rate of positive change will increase the further you get into the process.
My book simply speaks the truth about how the soil functions. I am not trying to sell farmers, ranchers or gardeners anything... no soil amendments, no equipment, nothing. Understand how the soil functions and you can choose what tools will work for your situation; a tractor, a plant, a goat, cardboard, a fence, etc.
Tillage is a double-edged sword, as long as you understand the degree of disturbance you are doing with a tillage operation and mitigate for that disturbance, you can stay on a positive soil health trend.
I do not place my potato seed pieces into the soil, but on top of the soil and then cover them with a thick (foot or more) layer of hay, leaves, grass clippings, etc. and allow them to grow up through that mulch. Add more residues as needed to keep them covered during the growing season. You will learn what types of materials in what combinations work best in your climate.
You folks are brave pioneers on your way to better soil... keep the faith and keep thinking outside the box!