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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Hard landscaping in Ireland, Garden Features (Paths, Patios, Paving, Decking, Walls etc)

The 'No dig technique'


 
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Breezy
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Joined: 09 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 6:39 pm    Post subject: The 'No dig technique' Reply with quote

Hi Folks,
Wondered if anyone has had experience of the 'no dig approach' to laying flower beds. I have a blank canvass as there are no weeds and little grass yet in my newly laid lawn. The soil is heavy clay and does not lend easily to digging combined with a weak back. I have been reading (http://deepgreenpermaculture.com/diy-instructions/no-dig-gardening/) that an equally effective method is to outline the flower bed area, eliminate any growth like grass and weeds by hoeing, cover the area in a mulch of well rotted farmyard manure, cover with topsoil and proceed to plant after which you should apply a mulch to suffocate the inevitable weeds. The theory is that the worms will do the digging. It would make sense in my environment where I want raised beds for drainage as drought is rarely an issue. The suggestion is that digging and all the things we would normally be doing in the garedn are an imposition of the agruicultural model onto domestic gardens. Obviously you will detect I am into easy gardening. Many thanks in advance. Donal
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is this, looks like a no dig week here on this site, you missed a talk by the Guru of NO dig Charles Dowding in NCAD Dublin last Tuesday big turn out, best place for info is here http://www.charlesdowding.co.uk/. He is the man or so everyone was telling me, let us know how you get on. Should have said I have no experience but i think you will find unless you can lay your hands on copious amounts of well rotted compost you may have trouble sustaining it.
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Good guy
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only ever take a spade to my borders, these days, if I need to dig out a plant that's unwanted or needs dividing, or to plant something new. I keep weeds down with a hoe or my three-pronged 'scrabbler' and I mulch with garden compost. I also use a lot of ground cover which reduces weeding.
That said, when I started these borders I dug them to a foot or more deep to remove lots of stone and to break up the sandy clay subsoil. I dug in loads of compost and anything else I could get my hands on to lighten the soil and improve its texture. Subsequent mulching and accumulating leaf litter keeps the soil in shape.
If you have a heavy clay soil and don't take steps to improve its texture by incorporating grit and organic materials like well rotted manure or compost, you will be very limited in what you can grow successfully. Maybe tackle a little at a time, as your back allows or, if you can afford to, pay someone for a couple of days to do this initial heavy work for you. It will pay dividends.
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donal - If you can get a copy, there's a book called 'Dr Shewell Cooper's Basic Book of Vegetable Gardening' (ISBN 0 85468 180 9) published in 1972. At the time he was credited with being the pioneer of 'no digging' - don't know if that's true - but he also advocates a method of building a compost heap correctly so that it doesn't need all the turning that many folk on this forum consider vital.

I must admit I do dig my plot but never touch my compost heap. I think the two go together to some extent inasmuch as you probably need large quantities of compost to satisfy the needs of your plot and I never make enough for that.

I'm convinced there's no 'right' and 'wrong' in gardening as previous posts have illustrated, but you'll need to experiment and decide what works best for you. Good luck.

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Blowin
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS to my last post - If you browse 'No-dig Gardening' on Wikipedia, it explains a lot of the background principles.
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gardendelights
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am trying this no dig method as I have too large an area for to dig , so hopefully this forum will be a great place to come for advise and tips, at the moment the manure is posing a problem , so this weekend I will be working on it , lots of people just say manure no problem but it is getting well rotted manure that seems to be the problem for me .Thanks for all the tips already on here looking forward to catching up with this forum tonite when I finish a bit gardening happy days to all.
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gardendelights
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If anyone knows where to buy a load of well rotted manure that can be delivered to Kilmovee in Mayo please let me know and the price also if possible. This information would be like a constant supply of water in a desert to me.
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Kim
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do no dig, every new patch of ground I plant up starts with cardboard covered in mulch, often long grass clippings, sometimes material from shredder.

I occasionally fork areas over if there are perennial weeds but that's about it.

Let the worms do the work, great for soil structure too.
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Breezy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all dear gardeners, lots to think about but very reassuring to know that its not impossible to have reasonablly good borders/beds at less physical expense. Donal
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