Connecticut Garden Journal: No Dig Gardening | Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Garden Journal: No Dig Gardening

Jan 21, 2021

Winter is a good time to plan for better garden soil. Soil is the soul of your garden. As goes the soil, so grows your plants. In my new book, The Complete Guide to No-Dig Gardening, I talk all about growing vegetables, herbs and flowers without tilling, turning or disturbing the soil. There are many good reasons for gardening this way. 

No-dig doesn't disturb the billions of soil creatures in your soil or the natural structure, so plants grow better, there's less weeds, water and air flow better and it's less work for you. And it sequesters carbon in the soil. No dig beds are usually raised. Either add a combination of compost and topsoil or layer organic materials in the bed as you would a compost pile. As the materials break down they create rich soil. In weedy areas place cardboard under the bed. If mice and voles are a problem in your beds, attach ¼ inch mesh, hardware cloth to the bottom of the bed.

Since the soil is loose and fertile, you can plant closer together and grow successive plants throughout the summer. In fall, simply chop and drop the foliage of healthy plants, not pulling out the roots. Remove diseased plants. Cover the soil with mulch or chopped up plants to protect it in winter. In spring, add compost on top and start growing.

You can also try unusual no dig techniques such as straw bale gardening, keyhole gardening and hugelkultur or mound beds. These are good ways to use natural resources in your area.

So, stop digging and make your gardening life a little easier.