I can’t help it, every time I think of the ‘no dig’ gardening mantra, I have to sing that song. Anyway. This post is all about the virtues of the no dig method. I am pleased to say, I am a convert. I was already a convert before I started it really as it made sense. If you rake up all the weeds you’re just exposing the weeds to light and moisture and spreading the seeds all around. Whereas the no dig method, you block out the light so weeds can’t grow up and just shrivel and die and only the most persistent will survive.
So to prove the no dig method isn’t all hippy dippy mung bean munching crap. I have an interesting comparison.
My neighbour, bless his heart, heard about my plight for an allotment and having some spare land was happy for me to use a little for my veggie growing. By this time I was committed to my sisters garden so, SCORE! Extra land = more yummy veggie varieties! The only problem is, by trade, my neighbour is a rotavator……………………………..so trying to convey no dig sort of fell on deaf ears. That coupled with the fact my dad and him got on like a house on fire, so before you could say ‘Jiminy Cricket!’, the whole place had been dug over and that was that. Fast forward a month or so and low and behold my onions and potatoes look like they are juuuuust about surviving in a jungle of weeds. Prepare for exhibit A.
There’s onions in there somewhere, I swear! Well at least the potatoes are growing…………in between the weeds that is.
It was bloody hard work sorting that mess out I tell ya! But they are, for now, weed free. Compare this with me no dig beds over at my sisters and the comparison is stark. Now with no dig, it doesn’t mean completely weed free. But the deeeeeep rooted dandelions and other deep rooters are, so far non existent. I expect it is just the little weed seeds that carry on the wind that pop up now. See exhibit B.
Look you can see they are actually onions and garlics. Now I must confess that I had weeded my no dig patch about two weeks previously. But seriously there weren’t that many in comparison. A mere sprinkling you might say. There were still some little tidlers trying to pop through, but I did have to zoom right in to prove it! Whereas with the dug over plot, I have now hoed that plot two or three times to get rid of the weeds but they keep growing back darn it!
So if you want to forgo back breaking hoeing and weeding, go for no dig. It is seriously a revelation, and it means you can do what you love doing most. Concentrate on tending to and picking you wonderful vegetables!
Update – I have now had three pickings of spinach, and have it coming out of my ears. About the same of lettuce, which I have given away to my sisters work colleagues. And one almighty picking of cavalo nero and curly kale which I still have HEAPS left in the fridge despite making around 4 different dishes for my family from it. I have made Kale Pesto (is the besto), Kale Hummus, duck breast with buttery cavalo nero which was scrummy and countless salads to have with meals of lettuce and chopped up kale and spinach. I am really loving this seasonal eating. Instead of planning my meals around whatever I fancy, I plan them around the abundance of spinach and kale I have :).
Until next time, Happy Gardening!