Trying a no dig garden bed

Trying a no dig garden bed

Last week I was introduced to a new YouTube channel and because of it, I’m trying to do a no dig garden bed. It can’t hurt to try these things.

The raised garden beds are fantastic, but also expensive. I love the idea, but I don’t know how serious I will be about this gardening thing. I am loving it right now, however, will I still love it in 12 months. Do I want to spend all that money and then discover I don’t want to do it anymore?

A no dig garden bed

While watching some YouTube videos I came across the channel of Charles Dowding from the UK. He has no raised garden beds. I was intrigued.

He puts cardboard down over grass and then covers it with compost. It is something I have seen before. Many years ago when I was gardening I tried a similar method to kill the grass. However, I never thought of putting soil on top so I can start planting straight away.

Charles puts compost onto the cardboard. I figured, how much could it cost to give it a go.

Starting the bed

I had a big box that my compost bin came in, so I pulled it out and put down on the weeds in my backyard. I purchased 4 bags of compost from Bulleen Art and Garden to use for this experiment. So far the cost has been $32.

I put down the cardboard and covered it. Tried to do all the things that were said in the video. I understand that what I plant in it will have to have shallow roots.

It is alongside the bed I’ve been digging for my dahlias. The first two images below are the new one and the third is the one I did dig.

The soil here is a bit questionable, so with the one I dug I also put three bags of garden soil on it and one bag of compost.

As you can see they are all covered in mulch. Very important here with summer coming. I have been using sugar cane mulch.

Will the experiment work? Who knows, but I figure if it doesn’t I won’t have lost much. I think I have couch grass growing everywhere, so it might be harder than I thought.

Maybe I can even grow some things in it. I might plant some radishes, cucumbers and some other shallow rooted plants.

Have you ever tried this method? Here is a video on how to do it.

Trying a no dig garden bed

16 Responses

  1. My allotment is ‘no dig’, it saves a lot of time but I’m having to make A LOT of my own compost (which isn’t a bad thing!) otherwise it would be far too expensive. I’ve made compost bins out of wooden pallets to keep up with demand! I do prefer no dig to back breaking digging, and I have noticed my soil is much better to work and wriggling with soil life.

    • I like the no dig, but I am worried that the weeds here are too tough, but will give it some time, I think. I like the no dig as well, and I’m trying to get going with the compost, not quite to the extent you are, I don’t have the space for that, but compost isn’t too bad to buy if you need it, which I like. That’s great to hear how your garden is, thank you for sharing.

  2. I like that idea a lot. Plan to try something like it when/if I get a garden. Good luck.

  3. This is something are are doing and it works well. Lots of organic material added. After a few years we had a little impaction at lower level and simply loosened the soil rather than deep dug and turned it. It was sufficient for worms and air and water to refuel it.

    • I did wonder about that, the compaction. I imagination a little aeration would work well. I love the idea, I really want it to work here. Thank you Judi, could to hear you have had success with it.

  4. The beds look great, Lianne. Here in the UK I’ve been following Charles Dowding for a while. You ought to be able to grow lettuce, spinach, beets, chard, herbs, onions, leeks, peas, French beans as well as squashes, in beds like this. I’ve seen vids of people producing potatoes in similar ones – so long as they aren’t exposed to the light. Charles starts most things off in modules, and then pops them into the mulch/compost. The cardboard under the beds rots down fairly quickly, or it does in the wet UK, but the worm activity in the soil underneath will soon give you a greater depth to plant into come the next growing season. Good luck!

    • Thank you Tish. He does great stuff, interesting see some of the differences, like he doesn’t seem to use much mulch, which is pretty essential here. The cardboard is something I’m worried about, as I have couch grass, so I might have to add more in the future. There has been lots of worms in my garden so I hope that will be good. I will see how I go with it all, but I can’t wait to see what I grow.
      Thank you for sharing that Tish.

  5. interesting idea. Never heard before. Iā€˜m curious for the outcome

  6. I was introduced to Esther Dean who pioneered the no-dig-gardening concept in the 70’s.
    This is a good resource. I know you have already started but there may be a bit more in here
    https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/no-dig-garden/9428640

Conversation is always encouraged.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.