Well! I couldn't believe the miracle of watching soil develop at the bottom of the no-dig garden. After the first year, if you parted all the mulch, there was a definite layer of dirt. But then I made some big mistakes. After a couple of years, rather than rebuild the no-dig layers of lucerne straw etc., I just added manure and blood and bone to the soil. I was feeling pretty cocky because I had caused soil to be created! Not bad hey! No soil brought onto the property - just existing dirt turning into good gardening soil. I thought that was wonderfully sustainable.
|our own garlic and broad beans at the end of last year|
|a bed that I had to let go due to the poor soil|
So if you like to learn from other people's mistakes, rather than go through the disaster of proving it to yourself through your own mistakes, this would be my advice:- Either make a no-dig garden and rebuild it each season or make a well dug garden bed and incorporate lots of compost, manure etc. If you have a deep layer of well structured soil and keep it covered with mulch, it will be able to retain much more moisture.
|a bed that is doing better, but still not as good as I would like|
If you've never made a no-dig garden, they are pretty amazing and so simple! They are a good option if you are not up to the task of digging a bed and probably a good start for a beginning gardener if you're excitedly impatient to have your own veggie garden and want to see it done in one day!
|my own coriander seeds|
That's it! It's that easy! The better the quality of your straw, the more nutrition your veggies will get. I tend to use plain straw for the bottom layer because it's cheaper and then I use lucerne or pea straw for the top layer that the plants grow in. If you have good soil around or some compost you could put it in your little hole in the straw and plant straight into that instead of buying potting mix.
Don't forget to fertilise with an organic liquid fertiliser or add some blood and bone every couple of weeks.
In my next post I will tell you about the efforts I've made this week to improve the soil in my garden beds.
So to the wonderful people who read here - do you dig............. or not?