Malaysia No Dig Gardener

by Annie Low
(Kuala Lumpur Malaysia)

No pun intended but here "no dig" means no idea, lol. I have been reading a lot on Mulching, manure, straw hay etc and am wondering if I could use sawdust instead, Paddy straw and or coco peat (coco fibre) I now know and read that I can and that's step in the right direction.

I have rented a piece of land from a chap who has a detached house with a large garden and two puppies who poop everywhere. Like a tourist in Paris, I cannot look at the buildings, but the ground in case I step on dog poo. I've asked him to fence up the space I am renting as I cannot tell him to pick up after his dogs now can I?

I've just gotten to know a Padi (paddy) farmer who sells bales of rice straw in one ton bales! Good Lord, imagine that amount? I can cover the gardens and the house with that much straw. I kept the shock out of my voice as I asked him sheepishly if I could have 50Kg of straw instead. I felt like the pig who wanted to build his house. There was a long silence, then he said, ok. I wanted to hug him, thank goodness he was infront of me otherwise I would have been in a lot of trouble with the religous department. Woman don't go around huging Muslim men no matter how grateful one can be. Rice farmers are normally Muslim, you see.

Cow manure is a breeze to get, worm castings too plus worms if you take the time to travel 60 miles to the source. Planks to build planters can be rather cheap, since I don't want to leave my husband out or make him feel unwanted, I'll get him to do the boxes. Hehe, did I mention I am a smart lady?

I will keep you posted about my "progress" and hope to be selling extra vegetables outside the property and make money for the rental of the place. BTW I am from Malaysia, yes yes I know,you ask "where the heck is that?" Its below Thailand and above Singapore. The penny drops?

Jumpa lagi (meet again)

Comments for Malaysia No Dig Gardener

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Mar 20, 2012
No Dig in Malaysia
by: Kiwi George

Selamat Pugi Annie. You lucky lady, all the straw and poo you need and a husband to build the raised beds. I reworked my gardens to No Dig many years ago as due to a heart attack I cannot dig anymore. Fortunately I had terraced my hill side garden into raised beds before my heart failed so all I have had to do is collect the horse/sheep/goat poo, seaweed, hedge and lawn clipping and layer it (like a lasagne) and let Mother Nature rot it down for me. About 10cm of the compost over all the beds is taken down by the worms over the winter and in the Spring I plant what ever I need. I always add some lime to the compost as most of the ingredients I have used are acidic. After I have emptied my four compost heaps I spend the summer collecting more "goodies" for next year's compost so i always work in tune with Mother Nature. Good luck
Kiwi George from New Zealand

Mar 20, 2012
Have you tried using
by: Annie Low

Hi I am getting some Micorriza, how do you spell that word? Lol. Its quite pricey but I cannot do strenous work too, also had a heart attack three years back. Now I started lasange beds and then doing the planks around it. Husband can only work on Sundays IF he does not work. Its hard work but very enjoyable.
Thinking of so many things to plant and I know its going to be a mess, hahaha but then again, who cares!!

Mar 20, 2012
by: Kiwi George

Hi Annie, good to chat again but I had never heard of gardeners buying micorrhiza as after many years of No Dig organic gardening my soil is full of it, possibly to my extensive use of seaweed,in the form of long white strands like string. I did not mention before that I completed an Organic Horticulture study some years ago and while it did not alter my gardening practices which were already based on Permaculture and sustainability principles and practice, it explained in great detail why my No Dig garden has been so successful. Mind you it does not look very pretty as I allow weeds to grow to flowering stage to attract beneficial insects and just before seeding,harvest them for the "Green" element in my compost heap, My rationale is the they have absorbed nutrients from the previous compost application which should be returned to the soil.
Kiwi George

Mar 20, 2012
No dig garden
by: Annie

I wish I had a head start too, like you. The grounds have stones and rocks and grass groing over them. Hard to see, till you walk on the stones and you notice they are there!
I've suddenly gone mad and have decided to cover the whole garden with Paddy straw mulch. Do you think that's a good idea?
I don't have sea weed but some one said I could use NORI the seaweed they use for Sushi. I've made Fish fertiliser, have you used it? Seems a lot of people swear by it.
The Soy bean seeds have sprouted to 4 inches now and I don't think I have the heart to "chop off their heads" to add Nitrogen to the beds.
Happy gardening Kiwi George
I had a friend called Kiwi who used to invest in internet programmes a long long time ago. They wern't worth it:(

Mar 21, 2012
More No Dig Stuff
by: Kiwi George

Hi Annie. The stones and grass are no problem if you are building a raised bed over it as the padi straw will smother it if not light can get through but make sure it is kept moist as it will not rot if it is dry. There is plenty of advice on the WWW about starting a No Dig garden from scratch so you don't need any more from me. As for using Nori for fertiliser, it is not cheap here as I use it for my Sushi. I am only 2km from the sea and after a storm there are truck loads of seaweed for the taking. Fish fertiliser, yes, I use the rubbish I wash out of my goldfish pond pump filter on my special flowers as it is great but unfortunately not enough for my whole garden:(. I put the seaweed through my mulcher and soak a sack of it in a large plastic barrel (it stinks !!!) and root and foliar feed my plants which seems to keep a lot of the bugs away. Happy No Digging
Kiwi George

Mar 21, 2012
Fish fertiliser
by: Joyce

Hi Everyone! I am curious about the fish fertiliser- how do you make it- which plants do you use it on- how does it benefit the plants? Is it like liquid comfrey- boy does that smell!
Thanks in advance, Joyce.

Mar 21, 2012
Sea weed
by: Annie

When I was in France, near Cherbough, there is a farmer who put sea weed on his veg garden. I was rather curious but since I did not speak French, it was hard to understand what he was saying. I got the drift but then I was wondering where was I going to get sea weed, seeing the Jpanese were grabbing all they can get. Lol! You are lucky to have sea weed so close at hand.
I use Fish fertiliser. I get the guts et from my fish lady who thinks I have no money to buy fish to eat, hahaha. Just kidding. I put that in a tight lidded container mixed with molasses and water. It does not stink at all. I use very little after brewing it for 2 weeks, mied with water for my garden. But nothing beats Mycrorrihar(sp!). The fruit is sweet, even the tart Passion fruit.
What do you grow in your garden?

Mar 21, 2012
Fish Fertiliser etc
by: Kiwi George

Good morning all from a cloudy but warm day in Wellington. Apart from the fish poo from cleaning the filters in my fish pond I only use fish manure when I can convince my local fish shop to save the heads/bones etc for me or my fishing friends keep the head/frame after they have filleted their catch. My main liquid manure is a mixture of seaweed (kelp if I can get it as it is the best)and comfrey which I have two big patches of, lucky me!!! Following advice from a fellow "No Digger" in Australia I have also mulched with seaweed as it feeds the plants as it rots down but it also keeps the local cats from using my garden as their dirt box,:) I also trench my garden with raw seaweed (forget about the salt) and plant over it after a few months. As a 100% organic gardener (as my 30% heart function has compromised my kidney function so I can't risk using toxic chemicals)I find that seaweed/comfrey foliar and root feeding also keeps the bugs and diseases at bay, not as much as the toxic sprays I used years ago but it suits my needs very well and I know what I am eating is "Pure Green". What do I grow, anything I want to as after about 10 years or so of No Dig I have black soil 50cm deep which always drains after heavy rains and only needs a bit of lime to balance the PH.
Kiwi George

Mar 21, 2012
by: Annie

60cm deep????? Wow, must have been a lot of work especially the waiting!
I have just learnt how to prepare IMO and LAB. Seems it will help to "soften" the soil. Must go buy some Daikon radish seeds too, hear that too will help whilst waiting for the IMO and LAB to activate.
The lady with the Rock Dust has a personal family matter to attend to. So sad to hear, so I wait till she can deliver the rock dust to me.
To-day I am going to collect a load of wood chips. If they send the chips to me, it will be in this very big load! The man is giving it to me FOC. But to get there is a hassle and I have to hire a lorry to bring the chips back to the garden.
I know all these expenses will be worth while down the road. Let's hope my heart stays strong eh?
Have you tried Bokashi?

Mar 22, 2012
No Dig
by: Kiwi George

Hi Annie. Lucky, yep but it was all done by worms and their action on my compost has turned clay and rotten rock (as we call it)into the soil I now enjoy. A word of caution on using wood chips, please ensure that they are from untreated timber and it is best to let them weather for some months as some some contain Turpines (which turpentine solvent is made from). I learnt this from using pine needles as a mulch and killed off some very loved plants but strangely enough, strawberries love them as they are acidic. I now use pine needles on my pathways to kill off the weeds. I have not tried Bokashi as I have a commercial plastic compost bin into which all our kitchen scraps go and the worms do a great job of breaking it down. I aerate it once a week by drilling holes in the mix to allow oxygen into the full depth to give the biota the oxygen they need to do their thing.
Good gardening

Mar 22, 2012
Wood chips
by: Annie

Hi Kiwi George, Thank you for the warning, when I went to collect the chips, the worker said its not tree chips but pallet chips. Old wooden pallets. What do I do now? Do I use it? Its at the garden gate in a pile.

I went to a saw mill and got some planks to make the raised beds, blooming expensive stuff. Got 4 sacks of saw dust to mix in with the chicken manure. Been pretty busy and am so tired but so happy.

I raised worms long ago and had sacks and sacks of castings. In the next few days, I will go get some worms. 1 Kg of worms can set me back quite a bit. Thank goodness, they make me great grand mother very quickly. Hahahaha.


May 10, 2012
Tough work
by: Annie

It was slog slog slog all this while trying to make my garden plantable. The torrents of rain did not help and when the sun shone, boy did it shine. It rained in one area close to the garden but not on my plot, can you believe that?

The raised beds are ok so far, the plants are quite happy but saplings planted on the ground, not on the raised beds have suffered so much that some withered and died. Guess their roots could not go deeper due to the clay soil. Have tried to do damage control, IMO4, compost, LAB etc even EM-1 but the land is just too stubborn. Sigh

I think its better if I tried my hand at Aquaponics, maybe it will work for me. Will be setting up the tanks and grow beds this week end. Wosh me luck

Feb 13, 2013
Another Malaysian!!
by: Anonymous

Hi Annie!

I know this is an old post. Hopefully will get a reply. :)

I'm staying in Johor.

May I know where did you get the rice straws from?

I'm thinking of making a raised brick vegetable bed. Still figuring out how to make the first layer of bricks level on the ground. I'm staying in a corner lot house and the ground at the side is uneven and as usual, lots of stones and stuff.

Btw, how's your garden now?


Jan 27, 2014
Rice Straw and Manure
by: Bala Nair

Hi Annie, my name is Bala and i am farmer in Kuala Selangor. Can you share the contact of the paddy farmer with me please? I am in need of rice straws (and in the tons too!).

I also have between 70-100 tons of cow manure every month to sell. Please let me know if anyone within the gardening circle who will need something like this. I sell a ton (at about 40% moisture) for about RM120/ton.

My e mail is Hope to hear from you. Phone is 0193171728


Jul 02, 2016
by: ken hargesheimer

do not use sawdust; no N to break it down. Email me at and I will email you info on organic, no-till gardening. I sell nothing. Buy your organic matter or grow it. I will email the info to anyone.

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