We dig over our gardens to remove weeds, loosen soil to plant plants, aerate the soil, and dig in compost and manure to feed our fruit and vegetables and other plants. We also dig soil to break up the lumps to make it fine enough to sow seeds......
But is it really necessary to dig garden soil? Apart from digging and raking to get a fine soil surface (tilth) for sowing seeds. I don't think so, here's why;
No-dig gardening is an organic method of growing vegetables without manually digging over the soil between crops. Instead doing the digging, aerating and feeding the soil and plants growing in it in the same way nature works......
The answer is no we don't need to dig our gardens, we just need to help nature do it.
No dig gardening involves some work to start the process off. Depending on the size and state of the area, the work can vary from a day to a few weeks. I have explained the basics here, but first you will need to decide what form your no-dig beds are going to take. Separate raised beds, flat beds, a small test area, a section of your garden or maybe the whole garden will all take varying amounts of time to convert to to the No-digging method of gardening, but will be time saving and free from back breaking digging.
Whatever bed, flat or raised, big or small they should be about 3ft wide with paths each side so that you can work on the no-dig beds, be it shallow hoeing to control weeds, spreading mulches to be taken into the soil by worms, sowing seeds, transplanting and best of all reaping the harvest. All this without trampling and compacting the surface.
Raised beds are especially valuable on poorly drained soils, and great to avoid back strain and bending. For more information about raised beds
Framed beds on the flat are better on well drained soils. A 6" frame will allow for a good thick layer of mulch to improve sandy soils.
How long does it take to change to No Dig gardening?
This cheap easy to assemble raised bed made from plastic heat absorbing panels is the Ideal bed to try your no dig experiment.
Organic Gardening shows you how to grow a delicious variety of fruit and vegetables: what to choose, when to sow, plant and harvest, and how best to avoid pests and diseases without the need to dig.