Origins of no dig cultivation methods are not completely clear, but the benefits of having healthy soil, bountiful crops with minimal work is clear! Managing your allotment/home vegetable garden using techniques such as double digging are time consuming, labour intensive and damage the delicate balance which exists in soil between beneficial bacteria, insects and microbial content. All of which are vital to the health of your soil and by extension the health of your delicious crops.
Incorporating organic material into soil is not a new concept, worms, insects, fungi and microbes have been enhancing soils organic content whilst aerating and binding soil together without having to dig in composted green waste or similar materials by hand for millions of years. By studying nature we can find ways to create efficient systems which work and enhance the natural world.
Pioneers in the UK like Charles Dowding, have been growing crops such as salad leaves for years with the no dig method, ranging from small back garden operations to acres of crops, even mainstream shows such as Gardener’s World have started to see the benefits of permaculture and no dig, as shown by Monty Don. The main concept of the no dig garden incorporates the ideals and principles of permaculture by mulching your growing area with composted green waste, straw, leaf mould, composed bark chippings and similar material. These mulches help to suppress weeds whilst the worms, insects and microbes continue to break down all this lovely organic material, incorporating it into your soil.
For best results you can add other design elements alongside your no dig site to enhance biodiversity, attract beneficial insects such as predator beetles and pollinators and make the most of the water fall your site receives.
Some of the methods which you could use alongside your no dig patch are …
- Adding beetle banks
- Create insect hotels
- Companion planting
- Attract pollinators
- Create a mini wildlife pond
- Design for your lands water flow
Why not give the no dig style of cultivation a go and see what this wonderfully simple method can do for your garden/allotment this year. Wildlife & Eco Gardens can help you get started with your new gardening system or help with composting advice to get the best quality compost for your no dig beds.