Growing back the Garden of Eden with a no dig gardening method that mother nature loves!
When looking at the no dig gardening method, we need to observe that conventionally, farmers thought tillage help loosen compacted soil which makes it easier to plant into. At first, it will seem that tilling improves fertility in the soil – because the truth is that after tilling, the now dead soil organisms release their nutrients. After this initial nutrient boost, the soil is in fact dead.
Typically, the farmer now have to add chemical fertilizers, which further kills what is left of the original soil. This is all unnecessary to your budget and cruel to a natural system that begs to work with you. In contrast, the no dig gardening method will surprise you no end. Plants literally thrive, the garden looks happy and the results are stable.. season after season.
When leaving the soil undisturbed in the the no dig gardening method we let nature cultivate, loosen and break up the soil (and thus improves air content, nutrient and water transportation and retention. In a nutshell, you add a nice thick blanket (at least 7cm thick) of well rotted wood chips or manure, rich compost or leaf mold, old straw, and other organic matter, to the soil’s surface. This will encourage microbe, worm and insect action which results in soil crumbs glued together by their excrement. This is gold for a grower as it is a much easier system, due to having proven to have less pests and diseases. Therefor it is also budget-friendly. The no dig gardening method is a win-win situation. All that is needed, is to keep topping up every other season or as needed.
The soil is a very complex ecosystem, teeming with a rich diverse life and this ecosystem is killed through tilling because ultraviolet rays of the sun sterilizes the soil. We know this soil ecosystem improves and creates soil naturally – and also a very important (and free) relationship with the plants – which is what modern mono farmers aim to do through synthetic fertilizers at great cost.
Plants need soil bacteria, and trees need soil fungi. This beneficial relationship includes access and cycling of nutrients, movement of water and air through improved soil structures and healthier crops. All you have to do is copy the system of a forest. Don’t touch the soil, add organic matter such as fa fallen leaves, wood chips or green manure and wait for decomposition to kick in with the help of earthworms (nature’s diggers), bacteria, fungi and insects. Finally you are left with rich humus that will act like a water retaining sponge and thriving plants. Easy and free.
Fun facts: 1 table spoon of soil = 50 billion microbes. Human population = 7 billion.
Soil fungi will be found in the top 15cm layer of the soil. It literally forms a communicating skin layer for Mother Nature.
Below is Morag Gamble’s explanation on how to create a no-dig garden.
Please send us your pictures, challenges and success stories so that we can all learn together!