I grew up on a potato farm and remember riding in the tractor with my father as he tilled the earth. The smell of freshly plowed dirt still takes me back to my youth. I also gardened with my parents as a child and all of my life we would add compost to our garden and till it in.
A few years ago I started researching no till/no dig methods of gardening and it intrigued me. I thought about the beautiful forests here in the Wasatch mountains and the fact that they never needed to be tilled to get new growth. The no till method seemed natural to me, and my back liked the idea of not having to till or dig up the earth. I started a no till portion of our garden and it has worked really well.
The main feature of the no dig method is found in it's title. The earth is not tilled or dug. Manure, compost, straw, and other organic materials are added directly to the surface. Proponents of the no dig method argue that digging can displace nutrients and compact the soil, harm beneficial microbes and life in the soil, and bring weed seeds to the surface causing more weeds to exist. As always you can also find literature to negate these claims.