No Dig

Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by Steve R, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. Steve R

    Steve R Soil Furtler

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    In early 2016 whilst watching Beechgrove garden, they started a "no Dig" bed, after the show I investigated a little online then started a very small trial of my own 4ft x 18in roughly. I did not do it scientifically or have a control to compare against but I sowed some radish and beetroot and they grew very well. This year I tried a 5ft square planted with annuals, whilst not scientific again, the flowers grew better here so I am rolling out onto a larger scale at my allotment for 2019.

    Part of the reason for the small trials is because you do need a lot of compost to start off, with that in mind back in Spring this year I received a large delivery of cow manure that has been aging since then.

    In the first photo is one of my large beds, normally I would rotovate this. The top half (closest to camera) will become No Dig, at the end of the bottom half behind the pallets is the aged manure.

    [​IMG]

    The second photo shows that the manure bed is now gone for good and it's contents have been spread onto the no dig area, as a mulch 4 inches or so thick. With the manure area no gone I am in the coming weeks going to convert the fence beyond it into two large gates, so that future manure deliveries can be placed straight onto the plot...the bottom half of the no dig bed.:) Pallet compost bays will be built all the way up the left hand side. The aim to to have as many loads delivered as I can store in this bottom area.

    [​IMG]

    This last photo is my compost heaps turned and mixed together, this 5ft x 4ft heap should be enough to give me another 2 inch layer on the No Dig bed, into which I will be planting.

    [​IMG]

    Charles Dowding is the name most often associated with no dig he has a website here No Dig Organic Gardening - Charles Dowding | No Dig

    But it is probably best to visit his you tube channel where the whole method and results are very clearly seen. Charles Dowding

    If I could recommend one vidro to watch it would be this one

    Many people out there now using this method, I think a few here on GC do too, would be nice if they shared their expeiences here.

    Steve...:)
     
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    • Verdun

      Verdun Passionate gardener

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      Yes, a no dig gardener here too Steve :)
      It suits me well on my deep sandy loam in veg patch. A no dig system is esp good for veg growing I think.
      Apart from any soil benefits the ground looks good with a mulch :)
       
    • Carllennon

      Carllennon Gardener

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      Ive been following his channel for a while. I am very interested to give this a go on my plot this year. I have had it covered since autumn to try kill anything off under it and keep the soil a bit warmer. I do plan to have raised beds though, but once the beds are made, I only plan to add compost to them and not give them a dig over. Maybe I will do half raised bed and half full no-dig on the ground.
       
    • Verdun

      Verdun Passionate gardener

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      Sounds good Carliennon :)
       
    • sandymac

      sandymac Gardener

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      Charles has just appeared on TV escape to the country Sunday and he says he sells over £20,000 worth of produce from his one third of an acre plot.
      That some growing.
      Regards Sandy
       
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      • Steve R

        Steve R Soil Furtler

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        And he only crops one third of that too! He has been a market gardener for nearly four decades though so he does know what he is doing.

        Steve...:)
         
      • Verdun

        Verdun Passionate gardener

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        Currently mulching veg patch as usual :)
        Turning over the ground and digging in plenty of manure, compost etc for the first year or two is ideal preparation for no dig thereafter.
        Perennial weeds rarely appear; annual weeds greatly reduced :)
         
      • Scrungee

        Scrungee Well known for it

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        Thats £20,000+ from 1/9th of an acre (approx. 450 square metres), a whopping £44.44 per square metre :yikes:

        That's better than many commercial letting rates, and you don't even have to build something to let out!

        That's also over £11,000's worth of veg from a standard 10 pole (253 m2) allotment plot. If allotment authorities get wind of this, rents will rise astonomically.
         
        Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
      • sandymac

        sandymac Gardener

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        He actually says he has a third of and acre under cultivation
         
      • Steve R

        Steve R Soil Furtler

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        He has 3/4 of an acre, and one third is under cultivation.

        Steve...:)
         
      • Scrungee

        Scrungee Well known for it

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        £20,000 from 0.25 acres is stilll £20/m2, or £5,000+ from a standard 10 pole allotment plot. We'd probably struggle to eat an average of £100's worth of fruit and veg every week.
         
      • sandymac

        sandymac Gardener

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        Here is an extract from his web site.
        At Homeacres the garden needs around 70-80 hours weekly, much of which is harvesting the £25k annual output of vegetables.

        His actual words are this garden is one third of an acre almost of cropped area
         
      • Redwing

        Redwing Wild Gardener

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        I grew vegetables for about 30 years but had to give up due to arthritis and lower back pain. I eventually came to using similar methods, basically raised beds with regularly added compost and cow manure. Cow manure is excellent and I can recommend it wholeheartedly having used it for years, even sometimes in a fresh state but you do need to take care if doing that. The no dig method has an awful lot to recommend it. Now that I no longer grow vegetables I still use this method on my mixed borders. IMO cow manure is better than compost as it contains few weed seeds. If you can get horse manure it’s equally good, if not better.
         
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        • Steve R

          Steve R Soil Furtler

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          Charles Dowding's Story | No Dig

          Look under the aerial photograph, where it states.."Homeacres September 2018: total area 3000m2 or 3/4 acre, no dig beds are 1000m2 or 1/4 acre, compost bays are lower middle, small garden is to right of house."

          But I suppose if you add the two hanging baskets it is getting on for one third....lol

          Steve...:)
           
        • Freddy

          Freddy Miserable git, well known for it

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          Not knocking it (no dig), it seems like it works. It just seems counterintuitive to me. Just sayin’ :)
           
          Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
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