to dig or not to dig that is the question

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al78

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Re: to dig or not to dig that is the question
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2017, 10:35 »
Have you considered no-dig? Have a look at Charles Dowding's website. He seems to get spectacular results without digging and he shows the results of a number of years comparison between dig and no-dig beds. He's certainly converted me - and my bad back agrees!

Agree 100%. Went no dig 4 years ago, great results. Why dig when you do not have to ? Dowding is the man.

It is not quite as simple as that though. If you go no dig you still have to transport large amounts of organic matter to your plot and spread it. This also takes time and effort. To cover 200 sq meters with four inches of organic matter requires 20 cubic meters of material. How much time and effort does it take to transport that much material, since there is no way you are going to make that much just from composting weeds and crop resdiue? I can see it working if you live on or adjacent to a farm, and/or can arrange someone to bring a lorry load of stuff to apply, but for me and probably many others as well, I can't see how it can work without some sort of hybrid system, maybe cover a fraction of the plot and dig the rest, i.e. reduced dig rather than no dig.

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snowdrops

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Re: to dig or not to dig that is the question
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2017, 20:25 »
No dg isnít just about not digging though, it has lots of benefits if you research it, Iím certainly going down that route for some beds. I very rarely dig anyway in the proper sense of winter digging,I donít think it makes much difference on my soil

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JimB

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Re: to dig or not to dig that is the question
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2017, 21:17 »
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On one of the last programmes shown on Beechgrove George was showing his amazing results from a no dig plot!

Me, I find it very hard to believe, why has man wasted thousands of years buying,breeding, feeding, housing, training  animals from buffalo,horses, donkeys asses etc to plough land to grow crops, when all he had to do was cover his land with a thick layer of organic matter, or in Monty Dons case, leaf mould, it just does not make sense!

But then there is a full moon tonight!
STOP, and smell the roses!

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al78

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Re: to dig or not to dig that is the question
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2017, 23:04 »
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On one of the last programmes shown on Beechgrove George was showing his amazing results from a no dig plot!

Me, I find it very hard to believe, why has man wasted thousands of years buying,breeding, feeding, housing, training  animals from buffalo,horses, donkeys asses etc to plough land to grow crops, when all he had to do was cover his land with a thick layer of organic matter, or in Monty Dons case, leaf mould, it just does not make sense!

But then there is a full moon tonight!

It makes sense because it works. As I have said, the issue with covering your land with a thick layer of organic material iks getting hold of enough organic material and moving it. To cover one hectare of land with 10 cm of organic material requires one thousand cubic meters of organic material. Where do you get 1,000m^3 of organic material and how do you transport it? It is all very well if you live on a farm with plenty of animals regularly excreting organic material from their rear ends, but most of us don't have that luxury.

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Aled

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Re: to dig or not to dig that is the question
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2017, 09:15 »
Well I emptied the compost bin plus some wood ash, over my veg patch on Saturday. Lets see how it pans out in the spring!
Cheers
Aled

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snowdrops

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Re: to dig or not to dig that is the question
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2017, 13:23 »
Well Iím not sure how big a hectare of land is tbh but I donít think Iíve got that much with my 2 half plots so Iím going to give it a go with what Iíve got,Iíve got 4 cubic meters of compost composting nicely &. Can get manure delivered. Iíll report back but in truth I know it works as Iíve been doing it with the squash bed the last few years.

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Dev

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Re: to dig or not to dig that is the question
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2017, 20:09 »
Can't deny that finding enough compost to cover all beds is the major problem. I've bought in compost - Morrisons locally were selling 3 x 70L bags for £9.00  - and manure, but it's getting started where the majority is used. Once you have the beds operating you only need a couple of inches each autumn to keep it going. After all, if you walk in the countryside its covered with plants (i.e. weeds!), and they don't need the soil turning over every year. No dig also keeps weeds down to manageable levels because you're not turning up dormant weed seeds - you're smothering them. And no - I'm not on commission from Charles Dowding!

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AlaninCarlisle

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Re: to dig or not to dig that is the question
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2017, 20:46 »
Just to enlarge upon the point about how much organic material is needed: We have three ponies that do little else other defecate constantly in their stables every night. I very much doubt that a full year's worth of their production would cover the average allotment to a depth of much more that 3 or 4 inches - less if it's allowed to rot before being applied.

Speaking very personally, not digging takes away one of the prime pleasures of growing. I may feel different when I approach 80

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Plot 1 Problems

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Re: to dig or not to dig that is the question
« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2017, 00:43 »
I've elected to go not so much 'no dig' as 'no walking on the crappy soil'  :tongue2:

To that effect I've constructed long raised beds with narrow paths between, rough dug the soil and then layered with a good layer of home made compost and then several trailers full of Greengrow from the local tip.
I can't recommend the stuff more highly, it's fantastic and dirt cheap to boot.

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mumofstig

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Re: to dig or not to dig that is the question
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2017, 09:08 »
Quote
Greengrow from the local tip.
I can't recommend the stuff more highly, it's fantastic and dirt cheap to boot.

Lucky you, we can't get compost like that here. They tried but the end product had too many heavy metals in it when tested  :(
The thing to watch out for is occasionally the product can have a lot of lawn mowings that were treated with weed killer, which can carry over into the compost. I'd beware of using it around growing plants. Winter mulching the beds probably eliminates that problem ;)
Lesley
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I'm not good, I'm not bad, I'm just me - and sometimes I have to apologise for that.

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snowdrops

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Re: to dig or not to dig that is the question
« Reply #25 on: December 05, 2017, 13:20 »
I've elected to go not so much 'no dig' as 'no walking on the crappy soil'  :tongue2:

To that effect I've constructed long raised beds with narrow paths between, rough dug the soil and then layered with a good layer of home made compost and then several trailers full of Greengrow from the local tip.
I can't recommend the stuff more highly, it's fantastic and dirt cheap to boot.

I never walk on my soil, & itís not crappy & anyone else who steps on it gets told to get off sharply. I too have long beds, not really raised but have slabbed paths inbetween

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Eightball

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Re: to dig or not to dig that is the question
« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2017, 23:51 »
Wait what.... You use a tractor. How big is your allotment? :unsure:

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snowdrops

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Re: to dig or not to dig that is the question
« Reply #27 on: December 06, 2017, 23:57 »
Wait what.... You use a tractor. How big is your allotment? :unsure:

Whoís got a tractor?

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Eightball

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Re: to dig or not to dig that is the question
« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2017, 00:38 »
because of other commitments I haven't had time to put my manure on the allotments or plough the ground as I usually do before winter sets in and I still need to dig over my razed beds to

unfortunately the allotment ground gets very wet this time of the year and tractor struggles to plough the ground I am mindful that the ground mite not  cultivate as well with spring ploughing as a winter dig and I will need to spread the manure prior to ploughing in spring to  :unsure:

does anyone spring dig and do you find any problems doing this because as I said I usually winter plough or dig

Was in the original post
« Last Edit: December 07, 2017, 00:39 by Eightball »

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snowdrops

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Re: to dig or not to dig that is the question
« Reply #29 on: December 07, 2017, 16:47 »
because of other commitments I haven't had time to put my manure on the allotments or plough the ground as I usually do before winter sets in and I still need to dig over my razed beds to

unfortunately the allotment ground gets very wet this time of the year and tractor struggles to plough the ground I am mindful that the ground mite not  cultivate as well with spring ploughing as a winter dig and I will need to spread the manure prior to ploughing in spring to  :unsure:

does anyone spring dig and do you find any problems doing this because as I said I usually winter plough or dig

Was in the original post

Lol I did look to see but missed it doh



 

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