NEWS, ADVICE AND REGENERATIVE THINKING FROM EARTH CIRCLE DESIGNS
Growing food in a home garden would be a lot more fun if the hard work was reduced. Digging up the soil is one of the hardest tasks of gardening but that can be eliminated with a no-dig garden.
Instead of digging down into the soil, a no-dig garden raises the soil level up so back-breaking shovelling is no longer needed. Follow these tips for starting a no-dig garden this Autumn.
When To Start
Autumn is the best time of year to start a no-dig garden.
Early spring before the grass begins to actively grow in the second-best time.
Select a location that receives at least 6-hours of sun each day. Most food-producing plants require several hours of direct sun daily, so look for a location that is in full sun if possible
Prepare the Location
Remove all debris or plant material and mow the grass. Mark off the garden location or build the frame for creating a raised bed.
Place cardboard or newspaper on top of the grass to smother it and the weeds. The newspaper should be several layers thick. Add a 2-inch layer of tree bark and/or small twigs next, followed by 2-4 inches of well-rotted animal manure.
If you are creating a newly raised bed fill the bed half-way with tree bark, twigs, and animal manure. These organic items will decompose over time and create nutrient-rich soil.
On top of the animal, manure adds a 2-inch layer of grass clippings and/or shredded tree leaves. The final layer will be compost or a 50-50 mixture of compost and soil. Add 4-6 inches to an on-top-of-the ground garden and finish filling up a raised bed with the compost and/or soil.
Cover the top with a layer of straw, newspaper, or cardboard to prevent the soil from eroding during the winter. When spring arrives, plant your choice of vegetables and fruits in your new no-dig garden.
Benefits of A No-Dig Garden
* Easier and cheaper way to start a garden.
* Eliminates a lot of hard work.
* Prevents soil compaction.
* Increases water retention
* Doesn’t disturb worms, micro-organisms, and fungi living in the soil.
* Bigger, better, and more productive.
* Moisture loss from the soil is significantly reduced.
* Doesn’t disturb worms, micro-organisms, or fungi living in the soil. A bio-diverse sub-culture is essential for a healthy garden. Worms are much better at digging in the soil than we are and the tunnels they create are excellent pathways for water and air to travel underground. Plus the worms leave behind nutrient-rich castings to improve garden soil fertility.
* Turning garden soil with a shovel or mechanical piece of equipment causes the soil to dry out, kills good bacteria and the earthworms. When the soil is turned it’s exposed to sunlight and air, buried weed seeds are brought to the surface and germinate, fertility is reduced, and the exposed dry soil is prone to erosion.
* Soil temperature is kept a few degrees cooler allows for a longer growing season for cool-season crops. The cooler soil will also help summer crops withstand the heat better
* Provides a location to dump grass clippings and fallen tree leaves so they can decompose and improve soil.
Grow Your Own Food
A no-dig garden is an easy way to grow some of your food. No back-breaking digging required, and you will know exactly what went into the soil and onto the plants. Eat healthier and garden the smart way by starting a no-dig garden today.