A few years ago, we met the lovely Kay & Simon from Badgers Garden. We were initially just interested in buying their locally grown salad leaves. Fast forward 2 years and they have helped us bring our very own No-Dig kitchen garden to fruition. It has been a labour of love but oh so worth it to see and taste our very own produce on guests plates.
No Dig gardening is a method of gardening that emphasises soil health and biodiversity by avoiding the use of heavy machinery, tilling, or deep digging. Instead, it relies on layers of organic matter to create healthy soil and nourish plants.
Here is a guide to no dig gardening:
Choose a location: Select a spot that receives adequate sunlight and has good drainage. You can start a no-dig garden on an existing lawn or in a raised bed.
Prepare the site: Remove any grass, weeds, or debris from the site, and level the area if necessary. You can lay down a layer of cardboard or newspaper to smother any remaining vegetation.
Build the layers: Begin layering organic matter on top of the site. Start with a layer of nitrogen-rich materials such as grass clippings, kitchen scraps, or manure. Add carbon-rials such as straw, leaves, or shredded paper. Repeat this process until you have built up a layer of at least 12 inches.
Add compost: Spreadbone or blood meal layere layers to provide additional nutrients to the soil. You can also sprinkle a layer of bone meal or blood meal to add extra nitrogen.
Plant your garden: Once the layers have settled for a few weeks, you can plant your garden directly into the layers. Make small holes in the soil to plant your seedlings, and cover with a thin layer of soil monitoring the soil moisture is still important, especially during dry periods. No dig gardens tend to retain moisture better than traditional gardens, but it’s still important to monitor the soil moisture.
Mulch the garden: Cover the soil with a layer of organic mulch such as straw, leaves, or wood chips to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
Maintain the garden: As your garden grows, you can continue to add layers of organic matter to the top of the soil to nourish the plants. You can also add compost tea or other organic fertilisers to provide additional nutrients.
Having our own no-dig garden has enabled us to serve our guests locally-grown produce less than 300. metres from when they are sat. More often than not picked earlier that day.
By following these steps, you can create a healthy and productive no-dig garden that supports biodiversity, conserves water, and reduces soil erosion. No-dig gardening is a sustainable and low-maintenance alternative to traditional gardening methods that can help to restore and regenerate the soil.