Does a heavy clay soil need tilling before planting a no dig garden?

by Lori

I am getting ready to start a 50' x 70' no till vegie garden on new ground. I keep reading that you really don't need to till or even plow the new ground to start, but I am concerned that the first year in my heavy clay soil just won't work without at least plowing it. Please convince me it will because I don't want to go to all the trouble.
Was also considering raised beds and need to know if that is a good idea.
Thank you sooooo much.

Comments for Does a heavy clay soil need tilling before planting a no dig garden?

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Nov 20, 2009
No dig means no dig...really
by: Brian


I started my first no dig garden last year. It too was over heavy clay soil...but there was a pre-existing garden there before it...but it hadn't been tilled for at least 6 years. The results were outstanding. My no dig garden is 12'x40' and was built with newspaper, cow manure, straw, leaves, and grass clippings. EVERY veggie crop improved over what I had before it...but the cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, and broccoli were particularly prolific.

I just added more shredded leaves to the rows last week. Stuck my hands into the rows for a peek...and it was full of big earth worms doing their thing. You won't regret it.


Jan 09, 2010
no dig on clay by lori
by: bill

Lori,Go for it. Remember you're building a garden on Top of the clay. this is a perfect example of a good method of making something out of a situation which requires a lot of hard work establishing the garden of your choice.
Brian,good man you help encourage others with positive input and encouragement keep it up.
happy gardening Lori.
Cheers Bill T. :)

Jul 09, 2020
by: Mapula

I am comforted by these comments. I have clay soil and will be transplanting my leeks. It is my first time to try no dig and was scared that my plants won't make it.

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