Making a No-Dig Garden
By Nicola Galloway
Earlier this year my friend Nick came to live at our house. Knowing Nick is an excellent organic gardener I was excited to see what he would do in the garden. His first step (other than directing me to remove the ivy taking over my fruit trees) was to create a series of no-dig gardens. Not really sure what a 'no-dig' garden meant, I was intrigued to watch the simple process which can then be planted straight away to yield healthy plants.
My history of gardening has had good intentions but a little cowgirl to say the least. It usually consisted of a trip to the market for some seedlings which are then planted into rock hard soil and watered when I remember... The result, well, not that great, except the hardy herbs which seem to thrive in rough conditions. So to be shown the ease of a no-dig garden that creates healthy, fertile soil by layering garden matter and nutrients seemed like a good idea. So here is how we made it. Like a recipe really, layer a bit of this and bit of that and sprinkle with...
Makes 2 largish beds roughly 1 metre x 4 metres
Mark out the beds using a spade, breaking up the grass/soil a bit. You can build a box for the bed using boards or bricks, or just build straight on the ground as we did.
Arrange a layer of sticks and stalks on the base. Next cover evenly with over-lapping newspaper and cardboard, about 5mm thick. Spread with pads of pea straw and sprinkle with fertilizer and green matter, and cover with a 5mm layer of compost. Arrange another layer of straw (it's a bit like making lasagna) evenly over the bed.
Make nests in the straw and fill with compost, at least 5mm deep and 10mm wide. Plant the nests with seedlings making sure they are adequately spaced for plant size and growth rate.
*Collect seaweed when you are next at the seashore (always keep a large bag in the car for this). Manure can be bought from garden centres or farm gates (this is the cheaper option - keep your eyes peeled when out on a Sunday drive in the country).
About the author
Nicola Galloway is a trained chef with a diploma in natural nutrition (Canada) who is passionate about the benefits of healthy and flavoursome food. Raised by two doctors, her focus on health was never far behind her love for creating good food.
She is the author of two recipe books; Alive - Food for Health and Vitality, and Cooking for your Child - healthy recipes from first foods to school lunches.
Nicola's mission in life is to inspire others to make healthy food choices and enjoy the art of cooking. She lives in Nelson, New Zealand with her family.
For more information go to www.nicolagalloway.com