No Dig Gardening Techniques

The soil in your garden is one of its most precious resources and it is more fragile than you might imagine. If you mistreat your soil, fill it with unnatural chemicals, allow it to dry out too much or disrupt that fragile ecosystem of life forms and nutrients that is found within it then you will find it incredibly difficult to continue to produce a good yield of edible crops.

No Dig Gardening

Many traditional gardeners till or dig their ground and some might argue that this traditional way of doing things is correct. There are others, however, who argue that we should keep digging or tilling to a minimum to prevent the delicate balance of the soil, and the creatures who make it their home, from being disturbed.

Do Not Disturb!

In “no dig” gardening, the soil is disturbed as little as possible. It is not walked on or trampled down, so it remains aerated. A heavy mulch is laid over the soil, into which crops are planted. This organic mulch of compost, leaves, leaf mold, and other organic garden waste materials will gradually compost in place to add fertility to the soil thriving beneath.

Creating a no dig garden bed is far easier than creating a bed by traditional double-digging. It is far easier on the back and takes very little effort.

If you are turning an area of your lawn over to vegetable growing space then you won’t even have to remove the turf – in fact, it would be a shame to do so as this would remove valuable organic material, as well as some of the top soil. Instead, simply cover the area you wish to turn into a bed in untreated, brown cardboard, or a few layers of newspaper, to prevent the grass from growing through the bed.

Thoroughly wet the paper or cardboard, then layer garden waste, grass clippings, leaves and even kitchen waste if you want. (Check this post for how to make a food scrap smoothie to add to your garden.) Top the whole lot off with a layer of compost. And there you have your new vegetable bed.

No Dig Gardening

The items below your compost layer will compost in place, but you can plant things into the bed right away so that they can take advantage of the waste breaking down and obtain beneficial nutrients that will help them to grow well and strongly. Creatures, such as worms, living in the soil beneath and micro-organisms essential to the transport of nutrients through the soil will remain undisturbed and will make their way up into your bed from beneath.

Adding mulch layers to your garden beds year-on-year will help continue the process of soil enrichment and will help ensure that your gardening is sustainable and successful. The rain will not wash nutrients away and the wind will not be allowed to erode a dusty soil surface. What is more, garden wildlife and soil life will benefit from being left in peace, which is great for you as well as your plants and the whole ecosystem of your garden.

Try switching to a no dig gardening system in your organic garden.

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Category: Organic Gardening

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