5 Easy Steps of Building a No-Dig Garden

5 Easy Steps of Building a No-Dig Garden

This no-dig garden bed is a good way to grow plants organically and it can save you time and effort. It is suitable for a vegetable garden in particular. As the name says, there is no digging involved and, so long as your ingredients are weed free, no weeds.

When you yourself have a frame for a raised garden you are halfway there. Otherwise you can buy or build one to your needs. Don’t be put off by this requirement.

Timber, bricks, heavy plastic or a large container can replace timber – use your imagination and whatever is easy to come by. Basically all you want is something to contain the growing medium. I once saw an old bath tub being used.

There are numerous different “recipes” for the growing medium for no dig gardening. This one is an alternative to the lasagna gardening method and it uses similar ingredients, as follows:

  • newspaper
    • pea straw, lucerne hay, or straw,
    • blood and bone and well-rotted animal manure
    • compost e.g. mushroom or any good quality compost
    • weed-free garden loam. I have used potting mix as an alternative.

no dig

Step 1

Prepare the site for the garden. Level it if necessary. If it’s weedy you can ignore the annual weeds but dig out as many perennials (e.g. docks, dandelions) as possible.

Step 2

Build your container if you don’t already have one and set it up in a sunny place (at least 5 hours of sun a day). If you place it on lawn or existing garden you may wish to employ a weed mat as the base. If so, biodegradable material is best for your soil.

Step 3

Now make a 50mm (2 in) layer of wet newspaper. Some sources suggest using corrugated cardboard from packing cartons (staples and packing tape removed).

Step 4

Add a layer of pea straw or lucerne hay. This alongside the paper should reach about a third of the way up the structure. Sprinkle with blood and bone and cover with the well-rotted manure.

Step 5

Mix the compost and loam. Use one-third compost and two-thirds loam, or a greater quantity of compost if you wish. Use this to fill the garden bed. This will compact in several days so have some extra compost or mix to top up. I water the bed lightly before topping up.

no dig plots

Notes:

If you should be using potting mix containing fertilizer instead of loam and compost you can omit the blood and bone and manure.

If you don’t like using blood and bone, look around garden stores or online for an organic fertilizer. Seaweed meal would probably do as well. There are several other natural materials as well, easily obtainable and suitable for organic gardening.

This article was written to assist you build your own no dig, weed free garden as easily and cheaply as possible. Built correctly it will improve your organic or biological gardening experience. You can grow flowers in it but it is fantastic for growing vegetables.