No dig and other 'new' ideas...

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New shoot

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Re: No dig and other 'new' ideas...
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2021, 16:31 »
So I'm guessing no dig is only useful on smaller plots, or individual beds?

It depends on how much material for mulching you can get or make.  I have a compost making obsession. 4 big metre square bins, 2 darlek bins and big white dumpy bag for overspill compostables. I still cant make enough to cover all my growing space with the level of well rotted material for no-dig.

It is worth a go on whatever scale you can manage, but there is no law that says you have to be all in dig or no-dig. You are allowed to do both  :lol: 

My original inspiration was Bob Flowerdew, who was always up for an experiment and trialed all sorts of growing methods.  I use several of his ideas even now  :)

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snowdrops

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Re: No dig and other 'new' ideas...
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2021, 19:56 »
My plot is basically two beds with a narrow path in the centre, each bed is approx 10 x 3 metres, so 60 sq metres total. For a no dig philosophy, I'm guessing that's an awful lot of compost or manure, especially if you have to go at least 10cm deep with it. I struggle to get the amount of compost I need to just do a small patch at a time each year, which I then leave and dig in spring. Also I'd have to hunt down a lot of suitable cardboard each year.

I have a 'Dalek' compost bin, which to be honest doesn't yield an awful lot each year, even though I top it up with kitchen waste and cardboard and paper etc every other week. It never seems to accumulate in any usable quantity, just shrinks to about 6 inches high. We have fresh horse manure delivered to the site, but to get that from the tipping point to my plot to cover only 3x3 metres, as I did this year, was really hard work, much harder than digging, and that's on sticky clay soil.

So I'm guessing no dig is only useful on smaller plots, or individual beds?

You only need cardboard if you are changing or starting no dig on a very weedy or pasture land & that also applies to 10cms of compost in the first instance.


As newshoot says its not compulsory & you can do a bit of both all of one or all of the other whatever suits the gardener. The original poster asked for reasons why no dig is used & I think there has been a fair few answers explaining those reasons.
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Potterer

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Re: No dig and other 'new' ideas...
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2021, 21:10 »
I have a 10 pole plot and use no dig. Ive divided my plot into raised beds and filled them with manure to start with and then top up an inch or two every year. Were lucky in that a farmer delivers manure to our plots so I didnt have to move it far. Im not a young woman any more but I managed it alone. It was hard work in the beginning but I find it so much easier day to day than the digging and weeding that I used to do before starting no dig. I get a lot of compliments on the lack of weeds and the healthy veg that I grown but apart from no dig there is nothing special that I do.

As has been said often before here, its each to their own on the allotment. Do what works for you. No dig definitely works for me !

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Learnerlady

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Re: No dig and other 'new' ideas...
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2021, 22:46 »
Took on a large new plot last year and tried to start the no dig on a couple of 6x8ft beds. Dug, cardboard put down then manure. Crops not bad but lots of weeds. Have weeded and put more compost\manure on over winter so will see. Have a number of smaller 4x3 raised beds sieved soil and added manure except for where roots will grow but not planning on disturbing the soil too much. The rest are a mix of raised beds, no sides and wooden sides. Planning on adding compost\manure each year with minimal digging. Main problems will be Mairs Tail and weed seeds blowing in from neighbouring plot. Fortunately we get bagged manure delivered to site and close to car park. Have started a couple of piles to ensure well rotted next year, had to make do with relying on weather and worms this winter
Should be an interesting year, can't wait

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snowdrops

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Re: No dig and other 'new' ideas...
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2021, 07:47 »
Learnerlady, the weeds might have been from where you say you dug,compost,then manure, miss out the digging & then youre not bringing the seeds up to the surface. My parsnips & carrots have all been grown where I spread manure, its the digging it in that causes the issues with them.

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rowlandwells

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Re: No dig and other 'new' ideas...
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2021, 10:27 »
I think what your saying bobbyt is absolutely true we fill 7 Dalek's each year 3 with veg waste the rets with fresh horse manure that stays in there for 12 months we have just emptied 4 and refiled with fresh horse manure the rotted manure that came out the Dalek's is going to be mixed with compost or peat for potting on our  plants

and we have to store some of our horse manure in tonne bags in the winter months because its to wet to take the tractor down the allotments  as makes a mess of the allotments path but  come spring we take it to the allotments and stack it to use in the autumn

 its a fact that horse and cattle manure will bring on the weeds because the weed seed are in the manure I'm afraid its one of the downfalls of using manure but I think the benefits of using manure out ways  a few weeds a hoe comes to mind  :D

as i said in my previous reply its all down to ones preferred option to dig or not to dig its the individuals choice at the end of the day and you do what you thinks best for your gardening needs


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bobbyt

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Re: No dig and other 'new' ideas...
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2021, 15:36 »
Hmmmm.... I could do a small experiment then, by not digging the 3x3 metre area which was covered in fresh horse manure late October, as I mentioned earlier, so just leave it and plant straight in it? No prep at all?

At the moment it is covered in plastic sheeting, as advised by someone down the allotments, should I now leave it open to the elements, or have I left everything too late to do this small experiment?

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New shoot

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Re: No dig and other 'new' ideas...
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2021, 19:43 »
Hmmmm.... I could do a small experiment then, by not digging the 3x3 metre area which was covered in fresh horse manure late October, as I mentioned earlier, so just leave it and plant straight in it? No prep at all?

At the moment it is covered in plastic sheeting, as advised by someone down the allotments, should I now leave it open to the elements, or have I left everything too late to do this small experiment?

I think you will have to judge it in spring.  Personally, I would leave the cover on if it is already in place. 

If you have big clods of still fairly fresh looking material in spring, I would hesitate to plant straight into it.  You could lightly fork it in and use it that way though  :)

For no-dig, you would apply well rotted manure/compost to the soil surface as prep.  You effectively create your own growing medium on the soil surface, although over time it does improve the soil beneath.  Applying well rotted organic matter to the soil, either on top or dug in, is always going to improve your crops so you win either way  ;)
« Last Edit: January 14, 2021, 19:44 by New shoot »

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Learnerlady

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Re: No dig and other 'new' ideas...
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2021, 22:26 »
Learnerlady, the weeds might have been from where you say you dug,compost,then manure, miss out the digging & then youre not bringing the seeds up to the surface. My parsnips & carrots have all been grown where I spread manure, its the digging it in that causes the issues with them.
Hi Snowdrop, think there was a variety of sources but will be continuing with the no dig trial 👍

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hasbeans

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Re: No dig and other 'new' ideas...
« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2021, 01:44 »
I was initially sceptical about 'no dig', as I am about any concept pushed by the multi billion pound gardening industry (I'd be homeless if I bought all the stuff Monty Don recommends most weeks!), thinking it was a ruse to sell compost.  But it isn't a new idea though Mr Dowding has done very well to publicise the concept in this country.  It's more a throw back to pre-industrial societies methods of growing food.  The argument that intensive growing depletes the soil, use of many fertilisers damages the immediate and surrounding ecosystem, is unsustainable and is only necessary because we are depleting the soil in the first place, and that too much digging or compaction through walking on the plot is bad for the soil and supporting organisms are all pretty sound.

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Roozel

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Re: No dig and other 'new' ideas...
« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2021, 08:04 »
I've only had my allotment for a few years but we've been no-dig from the get-go, but in a very laid-back way. We both have jobs that involve a lot of overtime so we snatch moments at the allotment where we can so we chose no-dig for three reasons:
1. better for the soil
2. is quick and easy
3. fewer weeds than our neighbours
We always cover with cardboard to suppress weed growth and have a happy time of it in summer, and add varying amounts of organic material depending on what the bed needs, even an inch or do will do the trick because the plant roots grow down through the cardboard to the soil below. Last year, I didn't add anything to two or three of the beds until I transplanted the seedlings (when I added a very small amount).
Growing veggies and getting muddy on my Bristol allotment since April 2018.

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Blewit

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Re: No dig and other 'new' ideas...
« Reply #26 on: January 15, 2021, 09:06 »
Apart from what others have said in favour of no dig there's also the carbon emissions. I'm sure most folk on the forum are already aware but when soil is disturbed it allows carbon to release into the atmosphere. Carbon that could otherwise be locked into the ground for hundreds of years. I read recently (book was published in 2013 so figures could be different now) annual carbon caused by ploughing in Europe is equal to all the carbon caused by traffic in the UK. Basically if world agriculture stopped disturbing the soil climate change could be reversed twice over. Maybe one of the reasons some farms are now turning to min-till and even no-till methods.

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rowlandwells

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Re: No dig and other 'new' ideas...
« Reply #27 on: January 15, 2021, 17:33 »
 I can't see for the life of me  farmers not ploughing the ground especially for growing veg crops ploughing the land  has been a tradition for as long as i can remember and the main part of cultivation for veg crops for both commercial and the home gardeners

and lets not forget the commercial grower needs to produce fresh veg very  competitive to complete with there foreign competitors so the price is rite for the consumer  to buy fresh British veg

as for the carbon issue well i have to say when we hopefully get over this covit thing there's going to be more increase in pollution from all things including all these airplanes taking people on there holidays to the sun

  minimum cultivation that you mention its  limited to certain crops and cultivation cost's come into play unfortunately we are seeing climate change due to many things apart from disturbing soil that is possibly some concern to some but i fear its not taken  seriously enough by many people both in this country and other countries

climate change world wide together with world  pollution is a big problem for the modern world that will be talked about on a political platform  for many years that some  counties will only talk about because a lot of countries are dependant on still using fossil fuels for there economy

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snowdrops

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Re: No dig and other 'new' ideas...
« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2021, 17:43 »
Blewit, thats an interesting fact, thank you. As for how we could change that around Im not sure if minimum or no till or  no dig would ever be more mainstream & certainly I cannot imagine how commercially it could be done because as Rowlands says tradition is an issue for some. I often wonder if we composted every little thing that we possibly could as a country how much as a whole we could produce & what type of size area we could cover.
Funny isnt it that we can embrace lots of new dangled ideas & such things but some are just a bridge too far. After all once we were caveman, but as far as Im aware very few people hang on to that way of life. Plus also most of us have embraced electricity in our lives & the use of motorised vehicles  :lol:
Im happy to try new things most of the time, my life would have been a lot poorer without garlic & spaghetti for instance lol. Each to their own I suppose.

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hasbeans

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Re: No dig and other 'new' ideas...
« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2021, 20:07 »
as for the carbon issue well i have to say when we hopefully get over this covit thing there's going to be more increase in pollution from all things including all these airplanes taking people on there holidays to the sun

It won't make much difference Rowland.  Emissions have only dropped about 7% during 2020, which makes a negligible difference to climate change.  As for flying, it only contributes about 2.5% of total carbon output and a significant proportion of that is created by the filthy rich, who I suspect still get to fly where they want, when they want.  To put it in perspective, the oil and gas industry 'leaks' more than double the emissions of all flying due to bad practices.

https://ourworldindata.org/emissions-by-sector#energy-electricity-heat-and-transport-73-2



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