I am planning a no-dig potato bed this year. I plan on planting potatoes this year, followed by garlic, and then planting root vegetables next fall. Should I intercrop legumes this year? I just made the bed in the last week. Should I fluff/loosen the soil between crops?
Intercropping legumes are always a good idea, unless one is already incorporating a lot of high nitrogen compost or manures. Yes, it is possible to apply too much nitrogen, although that is not a common problem with gardeners. I don't intercrop legumes in my own garden beds because I have been incorporating compost between each crop (that means normally every 2-5 months) and I use cover mulches. But I do grow legumes as part of my rotational garden production. They don't, however, take the place of compost.
Fluffing the soil between crops depends upon your soil and your preferred gardening technique. My own soils compact if not fluffied in some fashion, leading to a situation where only grasses and hardy weeds will grow. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that annual vegetable crops grow more robustly and produce more edible food when planted into fluffed, aerated soil. There are crops that will produce with no soil fluffing, but one must choose their crops wisely and anticipate less return. A lot depends upon which gardening technique one chooses to live by.
On my own homestead, I rely upon the farm to provide all of my food plus extra to trade, sell, and share. Thus getting a decent crop for my efforts is very important. I have found that lightly tilling in compost and other soil amendments between each crop works for me. No-till has not worked well with my soils and climate when it comes to annual vegetables.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
I plant my garlic after potatoes also.I do turn and fluff the soil as well as add amendments(compost , or all purpose organic fertilizer). I use no-till and till methods in my garden , it depends on what I'm planting next.Some crops need a fine seed bed for seeding (carrots) and sometimes I need to add amendments.Sometimes I plant vegetable starts right through a mulch layer without tilling.In the PNW the winter rains compact the soil , so that can be another reason to till for a winter crop.( I garden on Gabriola Island, BC.)