Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The 'No Dig' bed..

(OK I lied, you have to dig a tiny bit!)

As promised, the lazy 'No Dig' bed for planting vegetables. As planting season is already under way some of you might not find this post very helpful, but I would see it as already getting prepared for the coming autumn. Maybe it's because, for me, time seems to be going so fast that I feel the need to think ahead. Anyhow, hope this post helps for your future gardening adventures.

Start off with a small bit of land. You can mark out the area using string and canes. If there is already soil on the ground grab your gardening fork and turn the soil. For your first layer, add sheets of cardboard, this will smother the weeds and mulch into the soil eventually. The second layer, add seaweed, if you live in Ireland you'll notice we are lacking in seaweed, so the best time to collect it off a beach is after a storm. If that's not possible to do, your local garden centre should have powdered seaweed in large bags. The third layer is straw, again, most people won't have this to hand but it is available from agricultural centers and some large pet stores (used in rabbit and guinea pig hutches) To keep that layer of straw down you should add a layer of soil and/or compost. The fifth layer is shredded newspaper and cardboard. It makes a great mulch for most beds, but make sure there aren't any glossy magazines, they don't break down like newspaper. The sixth layer is optional, but is great for the soil. You would tend to do this part in Autumn. When the leaves finally fall off the trees, get out there with refuse sacks and collect all the leaves you can. These are invaluable! They are great for mulching and a good thick layer on a bed will keep the weeds at bay. I've noticed on a lot of forums gardeners have used cut grass instead but I find it goes into seed and basically ruins the beds. You don't want to spend 90% of your time weeding, right?

And lastly, add another layer of soil or compost. All these layers will break down and will give you lovely soil. I will do another post on soil soon. Let me know if you have attempted a No Dig bed before and if there is anything I can add that might be helpful to my no dig bed!

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