Create your own no-dig garden
There are almost as many different ‘recipes’ for the perfect no-dig garden as there are gardens themselves. Follow the basic principle of layering greens and browns and soaking each layer.
newspaper/cardboard, pea straw, lucerne, hay, manure, compost, blood & bone, sugar-cane mulch, seaweed solution, leaves, lawn clippings, shredded paper or plants
There are almost as many different ‘recipes’ for the perfect no-dig garden as there are gardens themselves and if you follow the basic principle of layering greens & browns and soaking each layer, you can’t go wrong, but here’s a recipe that won’t disappoint.
- Find a suitable location, with lots of sunshine. Aerate the ground, giving the garden the opportunity to tap into the microbe/organism highway beneath. If making the garden over grass, lay a thick bed of newspaper or cardboard, ensuring this overlaps leaving no gaps and give it a good soaking of water.
- Over the newspaper/cardboard lay some semi processed food scraps/compost or some blood & bone type pellets. Then lay a generous layer of straw or another carbon material that you have available. A tip is to soak this carbon layer in a seaweed solution or some worm juice to activate it.
- After the carbon layer, spread a nice thick layer of nitrogen such as fresh grass clippings or manure and then continue with alternating generously between carbon and nitrogen. Suggestions for brown (carbon) and green (nitrogen) layers are in the diagram below.
- A no-dig garden can be made from locally sourced materials and diversity of these materials improves the quality of the garden. Diversity will attract a greater variety of microbes, organisms and minerals all working together to nourish the plants. Some suggestions which assist are soaking your carbon layers in a clay/seaweed solution which adds trace elements and helps bind minerals and adding molasses to your nitrogen layers to activate the bacteria and feed the fungi.
- Make the top layer ‘brown’ organic material, which acts as a great mulch to suppress weeds, hold water and insulate the soil.
- To plant seeds or seedlings, pull aside the mulch and add one or two handfuls of compost into the hole that you have created. Make a hole in the compost and plant the seed or seedling.
NOTE: The no-dig garden will approximately half in height in the first six months as it composts away. Therefore, if for example you want a 30cm high vegie bed, build a 50-60cm no-dig garden.