No Dig Garden Layers

by Sarah Greedy
(Newcastle, NSW, Australia)

Hi there,

I have started my no dig garden just based on conversations I have had with some friends. But I am now concerned that I may not have layered my raised garden bed properly and hence don't want to start planting if it's not quite right.

My current layers:

About 10 sheets of newspaper over grass (within a garden boarder)
Some leftover soil from another location -about 3 cm
Sugar-Cain/ Straw / Mulch - Think layer about 5cm
Horse Manure - Medium layer
Some more Sugar-Cain Mulch - thin layer less than 5mm
Compost - Medium layer about 2.5 cm

Can you tell me if this is going to work or what I should do next??

It would really mean a lot!!



Comments for No Dig Garden Layers

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Mar 22, 2011
New No Dig Garden
by: George

Hi Sarah, congratulations lady, you got it right first time. While there may be some who are pedantic about what goes where, as an at least 6 year "No Dig Nutter", because I can't dig due to a heart attack, in my experience it does not seem to matter as long as all the layers are wetted as you add them. I have also found it advantageuos to cover the new bed to keep the rain off intil it settles down. Initially I read every book I could find, searched the WWW from A-Z, completed an Organic Horticulture study course at Polytech (TAFE in your patch) and eventually found my own path to No Dig success by "Empirical Determination"(suck it and see). All I know is, thanks to the worms who did all the work, I have changed Kiwi clay into topsoil 50cm deep.
Happy digging

Mar 22, 2011
companions are good
by: Ellen

Congratulations, Sarah, you're in for a fun gardening ride! I agree with George, you have done everything exactly right. I'll add: don't waste any green matter: chop and drop anything you remove from the garden, kitchen waste, etc, and drop it right back on top of your 'layers' for mulch. It will decompose quickly and feed the plants and the worms. I live in No.Florida and expected 'bugs' when I began this adventure, but thanks to intensive "companion planting" I have had zero bug problems. Plant mint with your cabbages. Good luck. Let us hear how it goes.

Mar 22, 2011
No Dig Beds, Year two et al
by: George

Hi Sarah and Ellen, good to hear that No Dig is catching on. While I found plenty of information on how to initiate a No Dig garden I could not find any information on what to do for following years. I continue to experiment and have five compost heaps which have different mixtures of these components: straw, used stable hay,(the urine content is a great starter) horse/sheep/poultry manure, seaweed, lawn clippings, hedge clippings, post flowering agapanthus stems/leaves and water them with liquid manure made from sometimes comfrey, seaweed, all the above manures. I keep my compost warm with old carpet or underlay and keep the rain off them with plastic sheet. My most successful mixture, in terms of time to become usable was 10-1 ratio of sacks of fallen leaves and horse manure wetted with a mixture of comfrey and kelp liquid manure. Every year now I cover my beds with sometimes finished and sometimes "half finished" compost, the end effect is the same, and leave it to my worm friends to "dig" for me.
Have fun,

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