Thursday, April 25, 2013

No dig gardening

My garden is almost all organic. I say that because occasionally I have to treat a problem such as stubborn rust on roses with an inorganic treatment.....but that is actually rare.
I would say I am 95% organic, maybe more....
It has taken time to get there....and one has to be willing to have holes in a few leaves. I am actually the only house on our block that is organic. Is it any wonder that the birds live here??
Anyway, a friend asked how we built our raised beds on our lawn, and how we removed the old crabgrass lawn on the parkway to plant flowers....
I tell them, I used the "No Dig Garden" method and they tell me "that can't work". But it does!

This is a couple of views of our redone raised beds. We rebuilt raised beds that were 10 years old and added to the number of them. We paint them black for the look, but also it helps in a coastal area that tends to be cool....
The no dig method was used....
Basically,  you mark where you want your raised bed. This can be on grass or any dirt area. You put down lots of newspaper (not colored ink) or you can use cardboard! Set your built raised bed box on top, fill with quality dirt, (we used potting soil) and plant!
Some people want to the box to be solid to keep out rodents and such, however, this restricts root growth so I don't recommend it....instead with such critters...use fine wire mesh stapled to the bottom of your box before you set it in place.
Raised beds are great for plants and people....less weeding, less digging and for plants you won't be walking around and possibly damaging root systems....
We built ours from fence boards...use cedar or redwood (be sure it is not painted or stained redwood you don't want the stain to leach into your food) to help prevent rot. These boxes will last many years!
We used 4x 4's that were cut to the height we wanted as the corners and then simply screwed the boards to those....instant box! If you get your boards cut at the home store where you buy your wood, it is even faster!
I haven't found anything that doesn't grow in a raised bed.....probably because the plants can get to the earth beneath, thus they do well.
Oh, and the front bed, the parkway?
Well, I applied the same principle, just not a box. I ripped out as much of the crabgrass as possible....that was hard. Then I layered about 1" of newspapers down, watered it down, then piled on dirt, planted and then a layer of bark (real bark, not plastic or rubber). It takes about a year for this to work as the plants get established. Deep rooted plants got to have a small hole in the newspaper. My bed needed only an occasional weeding from crabgrass trying to find a new foothold. I used creeping thyme, lambs ear and a multitude of other flowers.
My neighbors said it was impossible, that I would be sorry. But I am not, nor have I ever been. Yes, it took me a long time to dig up the old crabgrass lawn, but it is a show stopper at this time of year. My Hubby has fixed a dripper system with sprayers so maintenance is almost nothing. Once in a while he has to clean out a sprayer, or I have to trim flowers....but really it works. This was done over 12 years ago now, so the most important work, being patient......
Below I found a site that talks about raised beds and the no dig method. Hope this helps!


debra @ homejavascript:void(0)spun said...

It is gorgeous! :)

I have two raised beds in my backyard right now..I started strawberries in one last year to see if I could get a crop this year : ) will see :)

The other one will be strictly for tomatoes THIS year ( lettuce, beans etc somewhere else )

When I was younger in another location I had a full garden for veggies, another for flowers, and much more. Less now :(

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Hannah Collyer said...

Which black paint did you use? They look great!