Do you love the thought of growing your own veggies and flowers but are put off by the thought of the backbreaking labour required to create the necessary garden beds?
Here’s good news for you — you can plant to your heart’s desire with very little manual effort by creating a dig free garden. That’s right; you can have a garden that requires absolutely no digging at all! Here’s what you need to know.
What is it?
A dig-free garden is also commonly known as a no dig garden and it is basically a garden that you can create on any surface — lawn, concrete, poor soil, rocky soil, clay soil, and more. Dig free gardens are essentially like a lasagna — they are made up of layers of organic matters that are piled on top of each other. They are ideal for all gardeners but they are especially good for people who cannot dig nor do a lot of manual labour as there is no real backbreaking work involved in it.
How to make it?
The first step in creating a dig free garden is to mark out the area in which you want to build it. Make sure that you select a good size — after all, you want enough room for all the plants or vegetables that you want to grow! Edge the perimetre of the garden with clay pavers, old bricks or other materials that can contain the soil once the garden is fully built.
Use of newspaper
Once you have marked out your new no dig garden, it’s time to lay down newspaper. This is important as it stops weeds from growing through your new garden beds. Plain black and white newspaper is the best — avoid using pages with too much colour. The entire garden bed area should be covered with newspaper at least half an inch thick and the newspaper should be extremely well watered so that it starts decomposing pretty much straightaway.
Now that all the prep work has been done, it’s time to start assembling your garden bed. Start by laying down any straw material and watering it lightly. Next, add some organic fertiliser. On top of this add another layer of loose straw about 20 centimetres thick. Add more manure and water lightly. Keep going until the bed is of the desired height.
Once your bed is constructed, you’ll need to add the final layer which is the layer that you actually plant into. The perfect material to use is good compost that is laid to a depth of 10 centimetres thick. If you don’t have enough compost to completely cover your new no dig bed, create pockets of compost so that you can plant directly into those.
Some people prefer to leave their dig free garden alone until it has been completely broken down but this is not necessary at all. You can plant straight away! However, if you are planting straight away, it is best to use established seedlings rather than seeds. If you are planting into your dig free garden straight away, there are some plants that are better suited for the purpose. They include potatoes,
lettuces, sweet potatoes, herbs like chilli, lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, garlic chives among others.