Imagine you could start a small vegetable garden in your back garden with no digging involved? Imagine that this method means you will have less work and fewer weeds? That might be appealing, after all, you thought growing veggies would be difficult and require work, Right?
Well no dig gardening is a real thing and I am here to tell you it works. I am a HUGE fan of Charles Dowling in the UK. He is a specialist in No Dig Gardening and very well respected. I use his methods in my garden. NO Dig is all about feeding the soil to get it healthy and I have to say I wish I had used those methods in the greenhouse ( I will be from now on !!).
How to Garden with No digging?
I decided when I was making my new beds that No Dig would be the best way to go. Now I edge my beds with wood, this is not actually needed, I did it to make the garden look neater. But what a garden with no digging beds does need is layers these are what make-up your veggie beds and provide the soil nutrients for them to grow in.
This might look complicated but trust me it is not. In our garden, we used old rabbit straw instead of pea straw and you can even use grass clippings
Also in dry climates like Australia and certain parts of the USA, the top layer is usually straw. But in Ireland and the Uk, we get slugs so compost is best as the last layer to prevent slugs.
What are the benefits of No Dig?
No digging save time and effort by helping natural processes to work with you: undisturbed soil can develop its own aerated structure so vegetables/flowers grow more easily and weeds grow less.
- Fertility building from on top is a copy of natural processes
- Worms and soil fauna are encouraged and as they increase the soil becomes better aerated, without the disadvantages of digging (loss of moisture & structure, damage to soil life including worms and fungi, extra weeds, and lots of extra work for you)
- In time, the soil surface, even on my rotten clay, becomes darker and crumbly, and easy to work.
- The soil starts to grow beneficial fungi and .bacteria. These help plant roots to find the nutrients and moisture they need,
- No dig/no digging gardening saves time, gives bigger harvests, is ecologically beneficial and keeps carbon in the soil.
Okay – How is there less weeding?
Firstly when you put down the cardboard layer you smoother the weeds and they can’t grow up.
Also, whenever the soil is dug up, loosened or turned over, it recovers from the disruption by re-covering with weed growth. In contrast, the soil is left alone, it has less need to re-cover and therefore grows fewer weeds – I have picked all of two this year!
Yes, there are always a few new weeds, from seeds blowing in or brought in with composts, and they need removing by hand when small as tiny seedlings. It is a little and often approach. Vegetable growing is much easier when weeds aren’t competing for food.
Why does a Vegetable Garden with No Digging work for Me?
- It is quick to make beds – it took me less than an hour to make two new 3 x 6ft vegetable beds
- It means I don’t have to dig my soil which is a nightmare to dig
- No dig is an organic method which you know I love.
- Less weeding – yes please, I am a busy working Mum.
- I can grow tasty organic vegetables for family easily.
So why don’t you make your first bed today? You can plant lettuces, herbs, carrots, cabbages, and cauliflowers.Even now and start enjoying your own veggies.
I highly recommend you check out Charles Dowling’s youtube for videos on how he does No Dig Gardening and I just brought his Diary it is the best money I have spent this year full of hints and tips.
Here are some of my Gardening Posts – click on the images to see more!
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