Not many of us relish the idea of digging a bed in our garden or plot. No matter how big or small a patch we want to create, it’s a back aching task! But there is good news… and it’s called a ‘no dig bed’! It’s good for the environment, and it’s particularly handy when you want to create a vegetable patch.
So why is not digging up the ground better for the environment? Firstly you are keeping carbon in the soil by not digging it up. Also because it has not been disturbed you will not need to water it as much, as the moisture is held better, and you are then saving on water resources.
There are a few ways of going about it and you should consider what your specific needs are, but below is an outline of how it works that should work for most situations.
Firstly, you need to create a border for your vegetable patch. Typically, people use bricks, planks of wood or old railway sleepers. Some people don’t even bother with a hard border.
Next you need to line the bottom of the patch with cardboard. This kills weeds off by starving them of light. No need to dig, just lay the cardboard on the ground. Keeping the ground undisturbed protects the carbon-based microscopic life that keep the soil healthy. Eventually the vegetable crop roots will reach down and access the nutrients.
Next pour some compost or soil on top of the cardboard. Ideally building the bed up with at least 10cm of compost on top of the cardboard.
Pull apart the soil and place your plants or seeds and that, as they say, is that!
No dig beds can be an easier way to get into gardening, and help preserve your lawns by leaving soil undisturbed. Share your no dig bed experiences with us using the hashtag #BeautifyBalham!
– Fintan and the Beautify Balham Team