No Dig Garden Method?

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tiameg
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No Dig Garden Method?

Post: # 231116Post tiameg
Sun May 08, 2011 12:16 am

As I have terrible soil like concrete, I'm looking seriously at the no dig method, anyone practising this with success? Would love to know how it's going if you are.
Trying to get hold of the Esther Dean no dig gardening book too, without success at the moment.
Thanks :)

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RuthG
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Re: No Dig Garden Method?

Post: # 231121Post RuthG
Sun May 08, 2011 7:41 am


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boboff
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Re: No Dig Garden Method?

Post: # 231129Post boboff
Sun May 08, 2011 9:11 am

I have just started doing it this year.

Basically it's raised beds by any other name.

Getting the soil imported is hard work.

Using compost on a bed of manure with Card under neath I have found the compost has being drying out and takes ages to soak.

You don't get allot of bed for your money, I think it's something you have to plan to do say 4 meters a year till you have what you want.

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tiameg
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Re: No Dig Garden Method?

Post: # 231170Post tiameg
Sun May 08, 2011 12:24 pm

Wow thanks, looked yesterday and it was out of stock! Ordered Thanks again :)

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gregorach
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Re: No Dig Garden Method?

Post: # 231273Post gregorach
Mon May 09, 2011 9:27 am

I run my allotment on a no-dig system as advocated by Charles Dowding, but my underlying soil is pretty good. I don't have raised beds as such, I just keep chucking more compost on the top. I see he's got a new edition of his classic book on the subject out.
Cheers

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Re: No Dig Garden Method?

Post: # 231330Post JoHunter
Mon May 09, 2011 1:38 pm

A very easy and cost effective way to do no-dig is by lasagna gardening. Basically you put down a layer of cardboard, followed by layers of organic material (straw, newspaper, shredded yard waste, manure, etc) topped with some compost and then mulch material. The idea is you're creating an amazing habitat for soil organisms and composting in place. If you do it in autumn it should have broken down enough to plant virtually anything, and if you do it in spring you can plant squashes or potatoes (which don't mind the rougher texture). The best part is you can use a lot of free material to build the beds, just make sure the layers are watered as you build it. Here's a handy breakdown of the method. http://organicgardening.about.com/od/st ... garden.htm

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Re: No Dig Garden Method?

Post: # 231333Post grahamhobbs
Mon May 09, 2011 1:41 pm

I am the same as Gregorach, no dig but not raised bed (except for some for special purposes) and have done for the last 30 years, unfortunately not on the same allotment. Charles Dowding is extremely good (his book is highly recommended, the only one I know that treat slugs not merely as things to be chemically exterminated) although his version of no dig relies on buying in sufficient compost to cover beds and paths, a wonderful luxury.
In practice the big problem with no dig is what do you do with the paths. If they are composted like Charles Dowding, it is simple and they can be kept to an absolute minimum, the alternatives are covering the paths with woodchip, paving slabs, bricks or gravel preferably on Mypek, or grass. The other alternative is raised beds, but again the paths become an issue, with the same options but probably not grass (too difficult to cut between the raised bed sides).
As I garden on a large allotment, close on 1/4 acre, it would be expensive and I didn't think it fair to cover my paths with paving or gravel, so after trying woodchip (lot of work replenishing it every year or two), I've settled on mown grass paths. if these are kept well mown, they are no great problem, probably take up a bit more space, you need a narrow lawn mower and need to keep the edges trim. Also very important to set your paths straight and level from the start, to make mowing easy.
As with all organic gardening the next big problem is getting sufficient organic matter to use as a mulch. It is well worth the effort seeking out various local sources of horse manure, tree clippings, straw, etc. Better to mulch than to dig.

tiameg
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Re: No Dig Garden Method?

Post: # 231696Post tiameg
Thu May 12, 2011 1:20 am

Thanks everyone for the responses.
Being doing some research and came across the hugelkultur bed methoD. I am thinking I may do hybrid beds using a mix of both methods and see how that works out. Need to collect some wood, source some manure etc. Greenhouse is arriving in one week and I have now built two wooden raised beds - so can't wait to get going but holding back a bit and just doing the slog work until greenhouse arrives :)

Quite pleased with myself today (and proud of my daughter too) we have managed to strip, dig level and lay sharp sand and slabs ourself to build a base for the greenhouse and it's level! (have never done this before but after a bit of googling and looking for info - though we would tackle it ourselves. Off to buy a bag of cement tomorrow to finish between the slabs!

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Re: No Dig Garden Method?

Post: # 231745Post Henwoman
Thu May 12, 2011 10:35 am

I have raised beds outside, edged with huge beams which came out of my house when it was renovated. These are 4ft wide and as long as the beams. Between the two beds I have a concrete path and round them there is grass which is strimmed regularly. I had two polytunnels until one collapsed irretrievably after 45cm of snow. Inside the polytunnels I had raised beds and because I can fall over anything not entirely level, I also had concrete paths in them. None of the centre beds is more than 4ft wide, so I can reach the middle from each side, and the side beds are about 2'6" wide. The paths are the same width as a folding director's chair, about 24", so I can sit in there and read in the warm when I can't bend anymore! The beds have dividers in them so that none of them is longer than 6ft and some are only 3ft. This means I can go in and plant or weed and see one area finished - I know ultimately I still have to do the same amount of work, but breaking it up like this makes me feel I have achieved something and completed it however active I'm feeling. I got this idea from a book called something like Square Yard Gardening.

I have six compost containers made from pallets. These compost containers get all my waste plant stuff in addition to the kitchen compostable waste and the cleanings from the hen and rabbit houses and the goat barn. So some good stuff goes into them. Every year I top up all the veggie beds and some of the flower garden with my home made compost - and it's good stuff.

If I were starting again with the contents of these beds I think I would use the Lasagne method as it sounds brilliant.

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