No dig gardens

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Has anyone experimented with, made use of, no dig gardening? I'm interested in your experiences and opinions, how you got started, successes or failures etc.
My definition of no dig involves: minimal tillage of the soil, short of scratching the surface to sow seed or harvest root vegetables leaving spent plants in place to degrade in the garden, add nutrients to the soil or self seed using surface mulches to suppress weeds and add nutrients that slowly leach in to the soil using green mulches like legumes or clover to add nitrogen to the soil crop rotation to protect the integrity of the soil, for instance following leafy plants with root crops etc
Thanks in advance for your contribution
rob
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Interesting concept !! Never looked into it before, but you've started me off :~)
Seems to be a big thing in Australia, in fact there are courses a stones throws away from you: http://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/council/pws/waste/Workshops/nodiggarden.asp
More info and how to: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/publications/html/downtoearth/garden.htm
Even the RHS has info on it: http://www.rhs.org.uk/publications/pubs/garden_98-00/pubs_journals_garden_0299_d ig.asp
and of course Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_dig_gardening
Do keep us posted on your efforts. Pictures would be good ......... Jenny
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JennyC wrote:

Really?! Where have you been?! ;o)
This is my second year - kept all the legumes (broad beans, peas, beans) bed as it is but clean up a bit by just taking out the wires, mesh and poles. Kept all the plants there and they have all decomposed on top, giving the top surface a smooth dark tilth, which I just raked lightly, for my cucurbitas this year. The potatoes this year will be covered with straw and grass and on the new plot (given to me recently by the committee ouuerr...) I'll use one bed for spuds using the traditional method to see which one is best. Where the potatoes where last year I have just kept as it is, won't touch anything beside raking a bit to level. My legumes will go in there. My neighbour has started this process 3 years ago - she uses chicken pooh and tonnes of grass clipings. Her veg patch received an award last week end for the previous summer. Our tribe got praised for the creation of Edward Twigorhands, a very elaborate (and realistic) scarecrow and an award for my wild flower patch <blush>
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The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back           How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back by Ruth Stout Lasagna Gardening : A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding! by Patricia Lanza
My step father knew Ruth and Rex Stout. He took my mother for a visit and she became a Ruth Stout convert. my mother did have a bad back already. \ Ingrid
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List at http://weloveteaching.com/puregold / sign up: http://groups.google.com/groups/dir?hl=en&q=puregold&qt_s=Group+lookup www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I receive no compensation for running the Puregold list or Puregold website. I do not run nor receive any money from the ads at the old Puregold site.
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snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.xx.com wrote:

Oh ta very much Ingrid !
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snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.xx.com wrote:

Rex Stout, as in Nero Wolfe?
--
Mike.



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oh yeah. mom didnt meet him tho. my stepfather knew him tho. Ingrid

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List at http://weloveteaching.com/puregold / sign up: http://groups.google.com/groups/dir?hl=en&q=puregold&qt_s=Group+lookup www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I receive no compensation for running the Puregold list or Puregold website. I do not run nor receive any money from the ads at the old Puregold site.
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On Wed, 22 Mar 2006 13:41:57 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.xx.com wrote:

The late, sainted Ruth Stout had a unique way of planting tomatoes. She put the (ripe) tomato on the ground and stomped on it.
Persphone
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sure, in fact it is the only form of gardening I practice. details below.
George.com wrote:

You have to rake clean those parts of the garden where you expect to broadcast seeds directly.

I allow mache, arugula, and miner lettuce (plus purslane, a weed) to self-seed. They are cold weather small greens that can grow uncospicuously when nothing else grows, or in the shade of bigger plants.

of course. I even try to plan two years ahead. If I know there will be big plants for two years in a bed, I tend to use wood chips, which will decompose slowly. If I want the bed clean next year, I use leaves that disappear in a year

no. I have plenty of the real manure.

yes, but typically only two years rotation.

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In regard to leaving spent plants in place, it works if the rotation is strict. You leave tomatoes in a patch because you know there will be no tomatoes there next year. Not removing the plants certainly saves you a few hours work in the Fall.
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can you explain a little more this concept please?
rob
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There are certain plants that catch diseases. I leave all greens and all root crops and all bulbs in place, because they never catch anything, but tomatoes, cucurbita, beans and cabbage, if I know I am not going to rotate next year, I prefer to remove. Most of my tomatoes are healthy, but there is one particular heirloom that is hit or miss. And the cukes get the wilt.
Otherwise it is efficient to harvest the vegetable, clean it on the spot, and drop the remains on the ground. It saves you a trip to the compost pile, and trip back.
Other things I have learned: absolutely mulch at the very last minute before planting, and preferrably after last frost. If you mulch in march, because you don't have much else to do, you will have cold soil in May.
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simy1 wrote:

Just curious, where do you write from simy1?
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southeast michigan.
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southeast michigan.
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interested
failures
seed or

nutrients to the

slowly leach

soil
following
My experience (in Australia) is that the beds tend to dry out in the searing heat of midsummer and they are then a real devil to moisten again. They work reasonably well if you can keep them moist. My advice would be to use lucerne (aka alfalfa) in slabs as the base, and to put in pockets of potting mix or good compost where you want to plant seeds/seedlings. Prepare the bales of lucerne by leaving them to sit in the garden for a while and "mature". By that I mean to start rotting down. I put them direct on the soil and let them get wet as I turn on the sprinkler then turn them every month or when I remember so that a new surface is then presented to the soil. If you can do this where the no-dig bed is to go then you will start to notice the build up of worms (and the worms will aslo start to colonise the rotting base of the bale) and you'll notice an increased richness of the soil where the bale has been sitting. This makes it a bit easier to get the bed going. Also I never use newspaper on the bottom. I've found it doesn't work for me and stops the microgoobies from starting to work in the bed.
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George.com wrote:

I have used a variation on no dig gardening. The city i lived in had free compost from grass clippings and leaves. I brought home a few truckloads and just dumped them on the ground to create my planting bed with no further preparation. I had good success.
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interested
failures
or
the
leach
perhaps a point of clarification needed here, my original explaination may not have been specific enough. It is not the proces of constructing a no dig garden I am wondering about, through thanks to those who have made usueful suggestions in that area. It is actually in the process of gardening, propogating, rearing plants using a no dig approach, no tillage of the soil, low input, low labour, 'do nothing' process. What got be interested initially was this guys thoughts
Masanobu Fukuoka http://larryhaftl.com/ffo/fover.html
It sounded like a really good lazy way (and sustainable) of growing veges n herbs. I have only started experimenting.
The way my dad and grandad used to do vege gardens of digging in compost and manure every year, digging over weeds, spending hours preparing beds seemed labour intensive. They seemed to need to constantly put back nutrients into the soil as the process of rearing veges stripped the nutrients out. Moreover the more I read the more is suggested that constantly tilling the soil to nay significant depth actually damages the soil structure and its potency.
Fukuoka says that leaving the nutrients where they are greatly reduces this robbing of the soils vitality and nature and worms will dig organic matter in to the soil for you. That sounds good in theory, I hope someone has matched it in reality and can report on that.
rob
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well, if you get good quality veggies, they will take away a lot of nutrients. No till eliminates tilling, weeding, and reduces fertilizing and watering, but you can not grow great chard with leaves compost only (though you can with manure). You do need either manure or some chemical fertilizer, at least with some veggies. Or you need to grow a lot of peas and beans. Also, no till eventually becomes very friendly to slugs. Now organic slug bait is available everywhere, so this is no longer a problem.
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g'day rob,
yes i use them all the time very successful for me come vsit my web site and see how we do it:
http://www.users.bigpond.com/gardenlen1 /
len
snipped
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