Second that. I was hoping someone would jump in and explain in more detail -- I was too darn tired to last night
The hardpan at the depth of tilling as well as that you're actually destroying the biological micro-ecosytem, I think, are something that needs to be re-iterated.
The key to the no-till technique is that the garden area is originally built up by loosening up the soil (apparently there IS a machine for doing this in large scale as mentioned in the 2nd link above) WITHOUT turning it over, then layering woody/carbon rich organic matter/manure/compost, as well as cover cropping/initial planting with deep rooted plants that will do the digging FOR YOU. These roots would have reached down 4~6 FEET or more and
left their fibrous roots behind in the soil to add to the organic content. No machine can do that as well. Kudos to Mother Nature.
Now, if I remember correctly, Charlie has been HOT composting like a maniac all last season. So his compost is likely to be very lovely and ready to use. If your large garden does not have the benefit of initial layering/building, then it's probably necessary to till in the compost. But in the same situation, I would seriously consider taking the opportunity to start plots of built-up garden. Potatoes are the usually recommended first squad, followed by fast growing bush beans/fall peas and then winter root veggies like turnips and daikon. Rutabagas should be good too. Winter wheat, rye, barley or legume should be considered for cover crop. I've been sticking to oat and peas that winter kills or clover that can be left in place (no tilling
As usual, caveat emptor -- I'm just telling you what I've been reading up on. Many many experts out there who can really explain the science behind it all - search for "sustainable agriculture". My experience so far is limited, but this is the direction I'm going to go with. I CAN tell you that so far, it seems to be working. Ask me again in 10 yrs or so.
BUT You know what, I don't want to sound like I'm pushing this on anyone. Find out what you can, and make up your own mind. Really, the point of it all is that we're ENJOYING the miracle and bounty of the earth.