Respect for soil and the life within it is the essence of nodig gardening. Apart from any initial cultivation, perhaps to remove weeds or relieve soil compaction, the soil is never turned over. Garden compost and other soil-improving materials are spread over the soil but not incorporated by digging; this is left to worms. Other soil organisms decompose further what the worms drag down, releasing plant nutrients and forming humus. Although some soil disturbance is inevitable when sowing, planting and harvesting, it is minimal compared with digging.