16 Steps to Create a Successful No Dig Garden
There are many variations and techniques for using No Dig Garden method. This is just one suggested approach based on our experience and research and Toby’s recommendations.
Ideally, this new garden bed should be prepared in the autumn and left to decompose over the winter. If you use this technique in the spring or summer and plant immediately, it works better if you have more carbon layers and more compost/soil mix and fewer nitrogen layers (see # 11 below). If you plant soon after making the new bed, or the material hasn’t decomposed much, make furrows or pockets in the top layer of mulch and fill them with compost and soil mix and plant directly into this. This will enable the seeds or plants to grow while the sheet mulch is decomposing below it. It is generally easier to grow established seedlings in a new no-dig garden rather than direct sowing of seeds. Root crops like carrots and beetroot don’t do well in new beds.
If you do plant immediately, don’t expect high yields the first season because the material hasn’t broken down enough to provide many nutrients for the new plants or seeds. Organic substances decompose when micro-organisms consume this material. It is only when these micro-organisms die that plant nutrients are released back into the soil in a form which the plants can use.
Building high quality, healthy soil is probably the most important thing we can do for our garden and is essential for growing healthy plants which produce vegetables with high nutritional value. But it does take time to practice patience and slowing down to the speed of nature. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different materials. All organic material breaks down and produces soil. Your new garden needs air, water, nitrogen, and carbon. For No Dig Garden Try the Following Steps: