No dig gardening

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juvenal

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No dig gardening
« on: August 19, 2018, 17:33 »
A friend has just acquired his first allotment. It's covered in thick couch grass. Does the no-dig method require the manual removal of the grass (digging it out clod by clod), or can he cover it all with black plastic or similar assuming that the grass will be killed off by next year's planting season?

Would it still require digging over before mulching/manuring?

« Last Edit: August 19, 2018, 17:41 by juvenal »

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DHM

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Re: No dig gardening
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2018, 18:31 »
Just my opinion, I support the no dig theory but don't employ it myself.

Shouldn't 'no dig' be a free choice rather than a 'get out out of jail free' card?

I have seen people use no dig as an excuse, just don't think its right.

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mumofstig

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Re: No dig gardening
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2018, 20:52 »
Watch this video, I think it answers your questions. Please note how much compost/manure that he has used under the black plastic, which is helping to smother the weeds.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mmv2zGfhG8w
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snowdrops

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Re: No dig gardening
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2018, 21:15 »
Having bought a Charles Dowding book on no dig a few years ago & then reread it over last winter & did a lot more reading & watching that video & lots of others on you tube I decided to go totally no dig from then. I so wish I had done it many years ago. I agree you do need lots composted manure or well rotted garden compost, but it can be sourced. I donít find borrowing well rotted manure & compost as hard work as digging. But itís not just about that, itís about wha5 is happening to the soil & microorganisms when you dig in to them. I can honestly say after 35+ years of growing veg some of this years veg has grown so much better.
Charles Dowding recommends digging out perennial weeds but he says couch grass & bind weed can eventually be got rid of by strumming it down, cover with thick layers of cardboard then add at least 2-3 inches of compost ,more if you can, in the first year. Then after each year you just add an inch or 2 preferably in the autumn.
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Dev

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Re: No dig gardening
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2018, 22:18 »
I agree with Snowdrops. The first year requires the greatest amount of compost/manure on top of cardboard. Once the cardboard has disintegrated you can dig out any bindweed or couch grass as it appears. You need to pick out any weeds before they set seed, but the amount you get reduces year by year. Every autumn I just basically top dress the beds with an inch of compost/manure and I don't need to get an aching back digging the full plot. I look at some of my allotment neighbours who dig or rotavate every autumn - sometimes two or three times - not realising they are bringing dormant weed seeds to the surface and destroying the beneficial fungus which lies under the top soil, then seeing the rampant weeds which are seeding at this time of year. To me its just a logical no-brainer! 

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Offwego

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Re: No dig gardening
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2018, 22:51 »
Also My first year using no dig some of my best crops ever and very little weeds, I sticking with it and would not go back to the traditional dig method.

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AnneB

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Re: No dig gardening
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2018, 23:22 »
I stumbled upon the no dig approach by virtue of being rather lazy.  We put a lot of effort in when we first got our plots.  It couldn't be avoided really as they were full of old carpet, rubble, glass, tree stumps, horse tail etc.  We sifted all the soil - a massive task, but worth the effort.
We then built raised beds, but after that initial effort I have never formally dug the plot, just planted and mulched and in autumn / winter covered with manure and / or compost.  I might turn the earth over to dig up a potato plant, but that is as strenuous as it gets.  It isn't formal no dig gardening, but as near as, and suits me fine.  My only real issue with weeds is the germination via the empty plot next door. 
Crops and yields are pretty good all round.

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Veg Plot 1B

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Re: No dig gardening
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2018, 08:36 »
It works for me.

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SnooziSuzi

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Re: No dig gardening
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2018, 09:59 »
I'm doing no dig for the first time this year and I have to say I'm converted.

A good source of large sheets of cardboard is IKEA.  You could try hanging around the exit and giving people your/his number to collect the cardboard when they have built the furniture.

My daughter recently bought her first house and of course that meant going to IKEA so I got loads of free, clean cardboard with barely any sellotape (because IKEA don't use it).



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