Digging isnít for everybody

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Digging isnít for everybody

Post  Fran on Mon May 12, 2008 4:07 am

Discovered this when I went to dig up some ground for my first vegetable garden. We lived in the bush and if I wanted fresh veggies and fruit I had to grow my own. So first step dig up the ground, right? Wrong. A pick bounced straight off it Ė I either needed a plough or a year in the gym LOL

What to do Ė found some gardening books and read up about the no dig garden. Couldnít find anything difficult about it and had everything I needed to hand. Horses, cattle and chooks supplied the manure and I could rake up hay from the shed floor. I asked neighbours if theyíd save their newspaper for me. Had a ute and a shovel. Away I went.

And after a few years the soil underneath became tillable as all the organic material I piled ontop started to break down. Before I knew it I had soil that I could plant seed into directly and so learnt from the start that organic material supplied the magic ingredients that made gardening in my part of the world possible.

There are a few things to bear in mind if you plan a no dig garden Ė too wide and you will be walking all over it Ė make a keyhole in the centre perhaps or make it kidney shaped or long and narrow enough so you can reach across easily.

Make it as many layers thick as you want but the deeper the mulch the more vegetables you can plant of course. I never used any edging Ė the newspaper and hay kept the grass out Ė never had a problem and I planted straight onto couch.

And itís best to moisten all the different layers as they go down, particularly newspaper or cardboard which need to be soaked through. Perhaps collect water from the shower and give it all a dunking if you canít use the hose. Where thereís a willÖ Smile

With no dig you are actually planting into mulch so itís easier to plant seedlings than seeds. Make a hole, tip in some soil/potting mix Ėplant your seedling. I used to plant herbs too and they come cheap in punnets these days. Pumpkin seed will come up easily and just have to be thrown in the corner and trained up a fence or a tree close by or onto the lawn so they donít take up space or smother the lettuce.

And so I learnt the joy of watching seedlings turn into food so fresh I could brush off the soil and eat it straight from the earth. Hard dry ground became fertile in front of my eyes. Worms took up residence, butterflies and bees hung out with the cabbage moths and caterpillars, and my toddlers came sat with me and got dirty while they chewed on baby carrots or picked peas out of a pod.

Think small. Planting tiny seeds in the small space given you can change the whole world or, at the very least, your view of it. Linus Mundy
avatar
Fran
Cosmic Traveller!
Cosmic Traveller!

Posts : 506
Join date : 2008-04-12

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Digging isnít for everybody

Post  siri on Mon May 12, 2008 4:58 am

You can buy large plastic tubs that fit a 1/2 folded large newspaper perfectly. I fill the tub with water from the tank and emerse the paper in the tub. When I have laid all the paper and lucerne or whatever else i am putting on, there is usually water left in the tub and this can be added to the next layer.
Paper needs to sit in the water for a reasonable time to wet through, but not so long that it turns into mush!
There are lots of things that go into the mix. Scrape out the chook run, rake up the leaves, even some old 1/2 rotted straw from another garden. Old stalks from legume vegies are good - high in nitrogen. Of course the compost!
Cheers, Jan
avatar
siri
Cosmic Traveller!
Cosmic Traveller!

Posts : 289
Join date : 2008-04-27
Location : Central Vic

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Digging isnít for everybody

Post  Fran on Mon May 12, 2008 1:15 pm

Good idea Jan - especially these days when water is at a premium. In the old days you could just leave the sprinkler on and the mulch would soak it up.
avatar
Fran
Cosmic Traveller!
Cosmic Traveller!

Posts : 506
Join date : 2008-04-12

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Digging isnít for everybody

Post  Raymondo on Sat May 17, 2008 11:15 am

I had a similar experience to Fran at my new place. Solid clay and stones are what passes for soil here except in three spots where a previous owner had brought in good sandy loam to support his hobby of growing dahlias for show. I wanted more than these three spots so used the newspaper method though the only thing I can put on it is grass clippings. Seems to work fine though. Make depressions and fill with spent potting mix and plant into it. Works a treat and no back breaking digging! I'm planning to slowly convert my entire yard to garden this way.

Another method I've used successfully is to cover an area with weed mat, pin the edges and just leave it. I did an area in spring and lifted the mat a month or so ago. No more couch! Quite a few weeds came up once the mat was removed but they were easy to pull. I've sown a green manure crop (fenugreek) and will cover that with mulch towards the end of winter.

Raymondo
Big Bopper!
Big Bopper!

Posts : 175
Join date : 2008-03-31
Location : Armidale, NSW, Australia

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Digging isnít for everybody

Post  The Estate on Sat May 17, 2008 12:23 pm

Sounds great Ray, cheers being a sheila I like my easy dig areas Embarassed
avatar
The Estate
Cosmic Traveller!
Cosmic Traveller!

Posts : 447
Join date : 2008-03-27
Location : Melbourne

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Digging isnít for everybody

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum