Wednesday, 12 May 2010

No Dig Gardening!

I've been reading about no dig gardening for a while and like a lot of articles I read the interest is there and then I don't take it any further. But after spending more time today (between storms) digging over part of my veggie plot I'd decided that the least I can do is to try this no digging method - mainly because my back is killing me!

Luckily I managed to cajole the kids into helping me try to construct this new plot and at least one of them was even quite enthusiastic, which makes a change. So we set off with the wheelbarrow, a pitchfork and some ideas of what to do and where to do it.

First we used the scythe to clear away the long grass (and weeds), next we had to find some sides, the choices were stone (heavy), old roof timbers (heavy and long) or straw bales which we have plenty of, are not too bad to carry and can also be planted in - the straw bales won.

After building 3 sides with straw bales we started on the inside of the no dig plot with some old cardboard boxes we found as the first layer, then the cut grass, straw sprinkled over the top and some lovely compost from our muck heap - recycling or what! Better still we found that there are courgette and pumpkin plants growing on our muck heap - freebies from what our lovely porkers were eating last year.

The straw and compost layers were repeated again to build the bed up and over the next day or so I'll probably add a bit more. At each stage we watered everything to help speed up the decomposition process and we also soaked the straw bales so they can have things planted in them next week. All this watering was a bit of a waste though as we've had the most amazing thunder storm and loads more rain!

My son decided he'd snap a couple of photo's of me wearing my "Garden gear" as he thinks I look stupid! Maybe I do but at least I'm comfortable and who cares what I wear in the garden anyway lol. See for yourself.............

That whole outfit, not including any underwear that I might (or might not) have on cost me 2 leva - which is under £1 at today's exchange rate! The wellies were my dads and the clothing came from our lovely secondhand stall at the village market every Friday morning. Although if you check out the photo of my son you'll find that he's actually wearing my gardening shoes!

Here's another pic of me in action filling the no dig bed with compost.

We'll see over the next few months whether the "No Dig" plot can be as productive as my usual plots are. What do you think I should plant in it?


  1. Why, looks like tough work! But you seem to be tackling it well.

    I would mostly plant fruit, but what fruit is good in European soil?

  2. Great idea :-)
    I would plant courgettes and pumpkins and maybe peppers??
    I'm very envious as I would love a big enough plat to be able to experiment with. I'll watch yours with interest. I also just tweeted it.

  3. Thanks for the comments and tweet. Michael we have loads of fruit growing here - mainly trees but my strawberry patch is doing rather well this year too so not worth moving it.

    The straw bale sides will break down over the next year so the raised no dig plot will work until then. I'm planning on making another raised, no dig bed that can be a little more permanent.

    Libby unfortunately my chilli plants are quite close to where the bed is so I can't plant peppers there in case they cross pollinate - I made that mistake last season and ended up with mainly chillies and very few peppers. Courgettes and pumpkins are already in the ground and doing well but I do appreciate the ideas :)

    I'm sure I can find something to grow in there!

  4. Green & white Bop!!!!
    Carrots & Parsnips
    Colliflower & Brocolli
    But defo Bop Mind you would need a ladder to get them LOL!
    I have been reading about this too & think its a brill idea, good for you Suzy!!!!
    Oh Michael, you cheeky bugger, we grow loads of fruit here bushes & trees what fruit isnt good in our soil?

  5. Ah already have a previously dug over patch for my beans Joanna, might try carrots and parsnips in a raised bed next year though as it's a bit late to be planting them out now.

    Cauliflower is a definite possibility as is broccoli.

    What would you grow on the straw bales?