Tuesday, September 23, 2014

No Diggity My Experiences With A No Dig Garden

Since I don't live in a Martha Stewart Compound, I am somewhat limited as to what I can grow. I have tried various plants of various varieties. I have tried a few methods that are more conducive to the way of life I am trying to achieve. Since I am not a horticulturist nor a soil engineer, my methods have all been the trial and error kind. I am hoping that you can learn from me and I can learn from you.

The last house I lived in had absolutely no trees in the backyard! I truly had a blank canvas to work with. I am a big fan of the "no dig" method of gardening for a couple reasons. The first being I don't have to call all the utility companies and wait for them to come out and mark the spots of all the various lines that run from the house. I also do not own all the equipment required for traditional gardening.

This method is time consuming but I do like the idea of being able plant without all that preparation beforehand. While there are many ways to use the no dig method, I usually take the easiest way so I can get in the dirt sooner. The first time I used this method I took a large tarp and covered the ground that I had chosen for my garden. Like most people, I decided in the summer that I should have planted a garden.This actually worked because I was able to get the ground prepped all winter. You can also just cover the ground with newspapers or cardboard and add mulch or compost or both to get the desired depth. I chose to kill the grass with the tarp because I have used newspapers and the like in my flower beds and I find that this is a sufficient method for smaller areas. Newspapers take about 18 months to decompose so you may have to add more newspapers the following year to keep weeds under control. If you have a compost bin, you can use your own compost. Most nurseries will sell you compost so check around and make sure that you are getting compost and not mulch. The only thing I added to the soil was turkey manure.

My first experience was not a Martha Stewart moment. I knew nothing about companion planting or watering or even if I was planting things at the right time of the year. I know a lot of this sounds pretty dim witted but, I used my local garden center and as you know, they usually put everything out in the spring whether it is the proper time or not. So needless to say, it was hit or miss. I did manage to get tomatoes, hot peppers and bell peppers. Not to shabby for my first time!

I have since moved in to an older subdivision that has more mature trees in the yard. There are also animal issues such as birds, squirrels, cats and the like. I tried my hand at raised gardening this year and the jury is still out on whether I will use this method again or not. I do have some ideas that I am going to try next year but that is for another post.

Happy planting and thanks for stopping by!

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