Why Choose No-Dig Gardens

| November 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

Why choose no-dig gardens you might ask, no-dig gardens are mimicking the way nature does all her gardening, it is the most efficient, organic and natural way to garden. A no-dig garden created on top of the ground is going to benefit the soil greatly. Digging up layers of soil is more stressful on the microbes in the soil and should be avoided. A no dig garden gives you the opportunity to recycle your kitchen scraps, newspapers, clippings etc. Because no-dig gardens help stop soil erosion and the stress of extreme temperatures in the soil. Also, its less tiresome on you the gardener, not having to do a lot of hard digging.

Understanding no-dig gardens

Border of no-dig gardens

When choosing the site to put your no-dig garden you must remember that if your growing vegetables in your garden, they do best with at least 6 hours sunlight a day. Also, a windy area will dry out and lose moisture. Drainage is also very important, you want the water to drain away quickly when it gets to the bottom of the garden and not sit for more than a few minutes. Because you don’t want your garden to start to smell or get fungal rotting issues.

No-dig gardens do better if they have a border around them, its not essential but it helps to stop straw creep. Which is the straw literally crawling out if the garden bed. As well as the maintenance of the garden. So, this is a good opportunity to recycle logs, tin, timber, mesh etc. make sure you have ease of access to your gardens.

Knowing how to achieve no-dig gardens

Some of the best organic, compostable ingredients for a no-dig garden to use are as follows. Sticks are good if the ground is hard and helps create drainage the best size to use would be 10 – 20mm. Blood and bone because it’s a slow release of nitrogen into the soil. Newspapers are good but make sure there are no shiny papers, because they don’t break down. Straw or Lucerne even sugar cane mulch would be good. Straw hay bales can make a great border for the no dig garden. Dried Manure from horse or cow is great. Compost, if you’re a composter then that’s great. Compost is awesome soil for any garden.

Now that you’ve decided where to position your no-dig gardens and have gathered all the ingredients that you will use, you need to build your frame work. When it comes to the framework there are a few options to choose from. If you have access to recycled materials that you can use that would be awesome. Reuse recycle is a good mantra. There are options if your access to recyclable materials is limited. Hardware stores have pre-packaged garden beds that you can make up yourself. 300mm to 400mm height is good to start with.

How to build with confidence

Layering the garden goes like this, sticks first if you are on a hard surface because they are great for drainage, stack them in a cross-hatch pattern to create a thick layer, it will still drain well. But if you are on a natural soil surface first layer newspaper wetting it as you go. Because the newspaper will suppress any weeds by smothering them in darkness. But if you have sandy soil put Blood and Bone directly onto the ground it will help. If you have clay soil add gypsum because it will help the soil drain.

Ok now the wet newspaper needs to be at least 10 to 20 sheets thick depending on your weed problem. Overlapping the wet newspaper making sure all area of the garden to the borders is covered. Next layer is the Blood and Bone because it will balance the newspaper. Sprinkle about 1 – 2 good handfuls, making sure you use gloves. Manure is good as well as long as it has been broken down well.

Compost is the next layer, make sure you cover the newspaper well. Because you don’t want to see the newspaper at all. Between 50mm to 100mm thick no more. Lucerne is next and you want to put big thick layers of Lucerne up to a 100mm on because it will break down quicker than straw. Make sure you firm down you don’t want air pockets because the roots don’t like them.

So now you repeat the following layers, compost and manure, a thick enough layer to cover the Lucerne with. Straw about a thickness of 100mm, firm down remember no air pockets. So then enough compost and manure to cover the straw. Then straw again to the thickness of 100mm, you can repeat layers until you are at the top of your borders but that’s up to you. But remember to wet and firm down the layers as you go because roots don’t like to much air.

The fun stage of no-dig gardens

We are at the planting stage of the no-dig garden which is the fun stage, well I think so. I just enjoy planting plants in soil it’s the best feeling ever. Ok so you can pretty much plant your plants straight away, you can get a shovel full of compost and make an impression in the straw. Then plant the plant in the compost in a pocket in the straw.

Now you want to be mindful of a few things when planting, you don’t want there to be a tall plant in front blocking the sun of a smaller plant do you. Also crop rotation is a great idea because it doesn’t drain the soil of nutrients by planting the same things every season. So, first season for your no dig garden you should plant leafy crops, lettuce, spinach, rocket. Second season is fruiting crops, eggplant corn zucchini. Third season is root crops carrots and radish. Remember to wet in well when making and then when planting the no dig garden.

Ok a couple of pointers, the garden will break down over a period of six months if you where generous with the layers. As the garden sinks so do your vegetables which is ok. Now you are witnessing the breakdown of the organic matter above ground which is as nature intends it to be. That is natures law. If it did not break down then the world would be covered in leafy matter.  Remember be generous with the layers and water well when building the garden. A no dig garden has an enlivening and enriching effect on the soil.

As always love what you grow, enjoy.

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Category: garden beds

About the Author ()

Hi my name Tanya and I am a lover of growing all things in the garden. Its the one place I feel at peace and can rest my soul. From my earliest childhood memory I have always loved the garden. So I hope to be able to pass on some of the information, tips, tricks and of course my passion for Gardening. Love what you grow. Enjoy.

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