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How to garden the no-dig way
The most obvious benefit of no-dig gardening is it removes the back-breaking work of digging up the soil.
Another is that you can create a productive garden even in areas of very poor, sandy or rocky soil.
You can lay no-dig garden beds down over lawns, concrete or cement.
You could even build a no-dig rooftop garden, although you would first need to make sure there is correct drainage.
Why No-Dig Gardening?
- No-dig gardens are perfect for people with back problems, older people and children, as well as people who just hate digging!
- They are great if you have poor soil, or even no soil.
- They are generally freer of disease and pests than conventional gardens.
- They are also good for the environment. Digging up the soil can drain the earth of nutrients which have to be replaced with fertilisers. Australia generally has poor, thin topsoil lacking nutrients to begin with.
- Mulching your no-dig garden also retains moisture, reducing the amount of water (link to water-efficient garden article)
- you need to use.
What can you grow in a no-dig garden?
No-dig gardens are particularly good for growing vegetables and herbs, but you can grow pretty much anything that you could grow in a conventional garden.
Creating a no-dig garden
A no-dig garden is made up of layers of mulch or organic matter built up on the base. Your base can be any flat surface ' the ground, an existing garden bed, or a specially built raised bed.
No-dig gardening is sometimes known as 'lasagne gardening', because you build it up layer by layer like a lasagne, until you have a depth of at least 20 cms.
For the mulch you can use straw, hay, fallen leaves, even old cardboard or newspapers This is then enriched with manure, compost and organic fertiliser.
The key to success with a no-dig garden is getting a good mixture of nutrients by using good compost, carbon in the straw and manure to add nitrogen. Worms and micro-organisms must also be enticed up from the soil to fertilise and aerate the no-dig layers.
Once you've made the mulch bed, leave it for a few weeks to allow worms and other micro-organisms to find their way up from the earth to break it down.
If you built your 'lasagne' directly on concrete, seed it with worms from a garden nursery.
You can then plant your seeds or seedlings directly into your bed of organic matter.
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