How to garden free: newspaper and cardboad hacks

How to garden free and environmentally friendly is always on my mind and I love using newspaper and especially cardboard. For many, using it in organic food gardens is an ongoing debate.

Both have been used widely as a mulch, natural weed killer, and as potting cups.

As newspaper and cardboard breaks down, carbon is released into the soil. Carbon is an essential element to healthy soil.

The golden rule, according to the experts, is to use only plastic-free cardboard without glossy print and newspapers without colored inks. Currently newspapers are printed with safer inks such as soy ink and the general consensus is that it can safely be used.

How to garden free: 8 x Top Hacks with newspaper and cardboard boxes. These make life EASY!

1) Make your own biodegradable seedling pots out of newspaper:

The internet is full of different origame instructions. Or follow the world’s simplest method ever:
-Tear the double sheet into 2 pieces.
-Roll a longish cone.
-Fold the point over the edge, into the wide mouth, to secure the shape and close the bottom off. With this very basic shape is, your pots are meant to sit in a box together until planting day. They will not stand by themselves.
-Repeat until you have enough, and place them snug enough into the temporary box, pre-planting.
-You now have biodegradable planting pots ready to fill with soil. So go ahead and buy heirloom seeds!

2) sowing your heirloom seeds and raising seedlings without competitive weeds can be done if you start the process with the help of a weed blanket:

-Add wet newspaper sheets to a raked surface. Make sure to overlap them well to ensure great coverage.
-After designing your planting scheme, draw or paint the outline design on to the sheets.
-Cut out the ‘pattern’ of your planting spaces (the “holes” where the plants will grow through). Secure the sheets down with rocks if it is windy.

Now you can start with your sowing can be done followed by a layer of compost and mulch.

3) Create a perfect 50/50 carbon/nitrogen compost booster:

Add shredded newspaper to the same ratio as foliage to your compost. Tip: run over a few newspaper sheets next time you mow the lawn. Shredded newspaper to the compost bin is like a sprinkling of fairy dust.

4) Trap pests the easy way: Place damp newspaper is an alluring place around plants/trees before night fall, and pick them up the next morning with all the quilty visitors underneath.

5) Lasagne gardening on a base of newspaper:

Create a moistened bed of newspaper (1cm thick layer) and add on top:
– layer of small sticks and twigs
– layer of foliage
– layer of shredded color-ink-paper
– layer of compost and soil
– repeat all these steps except the bottom base (which you only do once). * Keep moist and covered with a mulch. After 2 months, you will be left with a most fertile, magic planting bed for your heirloom seeds to be sown.

6) Create an instant cost and maintenance-free pathway with cardboard boxes:
Open up your plastic-free, non-glossy cardboard boxes and overlap/lay them to form your path. Weigh down with a few rocks here and there. Follow up with mulch, wood chips or gravel. You may need to add a new cardboard sheet every other year.
How to garden free includes this very cheap, or free method – plus, you will never deal with a single weed.

7) Instant fix to impossible sand or clay soils:
Collect smaller plastic-free and non-glossy carboard boxes such as wine boxes. Dig a hole where you wish to plant, insert the box, but filled with good soil and compost. Plant next with the chosen plant, or sow your heirloom seeds in situs and finally cover the area with mulch so that the box is out of sight. This method works very well! The box will eventually break down, to further enrich the soil.

8) Easiest method to minimize weeds and maximize water: Tear up cardboard boxes that have no plastic or glossy print. Place these around your shrubs and trees, not quite over-lapping but close to. The ideais for water to easily get through the gaps, to the roots of your plants, but to beclose enough to suppressweeds. These cardboard sheets will become soil food in time and putting new cardboard carpets down will be needed now and then. Cover all areas inbetween plants that you wish to keep clean. Cover and hide with mulch.

These simple methods are game changers!

Why Mycorrhizae is Important to plant and soil health

The internet of plants, also known as mycorrhizal fungi

Why Mycorrhizae is Important: the fungi exist in undisturbed soil and plants thrive because nutrients will be shared and distributed equally.

Mycorrhizae (meaning “fungus root” in Greek) should be on your best friends’ list. Why you ask? Micorrhizae are the most successful partnerships of all time. This beneficial fungi are expert miners for water and nutrients, with a focus on phosphorus. At first the miccorhizal fungi spores germinate in the soil and make their way to colonize the nearest plant roots. This is the start of a life-long symbiotic relationship between plant and fungi, called “mycorrhiza”. The fungi connects many vegetables and shrubs, flowers and trees with each other – many 100 times the original root space due to the hyphae that spreads and develops a network of filaments (fine and intricately branched hyphae threads).

In the soil food web, the underground ecosystem is made up of insects, worms, algae and bacteria, microscopic creatures and fungi. Saprophytic fungi decomposes woody material, and mycorrhizal transports food in the soil.

Every plant that serves as host to this fungi, benefits through the receiving of the water, nutrients and phosphorus and then gratefully gives thanks with much-needed glucose to the fungus. After photosynthesis, extra sugars are traded by the plants for protection and food. Fungus can spread much wider and further than root systems – giving trees and plants access to soil food outside of their reach. A win-win situation. Being part of an extended feeding community makes mycorrhizae-connected plants visibly healthier.

The list of benefits and why Mycorrhizae is important to your plants, include:

  • Nutrients are delivered on the plant’s demand and need.
  • The fungi reproduce by means of spores, with or without the presence of a host.
  • Production of more vigorous and healthy plants.
  • Resulting in higher yields and improved crop production.
  • Improved flowering and fruiting.
  • Establishing after transplanting seedlings are more successful.
  • They have a much higher tolerance for soil salinity and need less irrigation and feeding.
  • Soil structure improvement and elimination of erosion.
  • Stronger and much healthier root formation plus fewer soil pest issues.
  • Mycorrhizal fungi respond to inequality of resources by moving phosphorus from richer to poorer areas across networks.
  • Reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions (greenhouse gas).
  • Possible reduction of heavy metal impact in host plants.
  • Increased resistance to soil-borne pathogens (bacterial or fungal).

Micorrhizae thrives in undisturbed soil that is rich in organic matter. Use no-dig gardening methods (https://gardeningeden.net/2019/10/02/the-no-dig-gardening/) and cover your soil with compost and other natural materials such as wood chips that will eventually break down to further feed the soil. Do not work the compost or material into the soil – just leave it on top as a blanket.

While it is possible to buy and use Mycorrhizal fungi inoculants, it may be of a combination of fungi that does not suit your plant needs. Endomycorrhizal fungi (aka arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi) for example is associate with about 90% of plant species, including vegetables, grasses and many ornamental plants. Ectomycorrhizal fungi however is only associated with about 5% of plants, but are very important for conifers, beech, oak, willows and other deciduous trees. You can either mix the powder into the root balls (or seeds) before planting, or adding it to the watering can before irrigation.
The ideal is however to let your green space recover to its natural health balance, which it will if you let it. If you do opt for this method, make sure to test your soil for available phosphorous for example.

Ever wondered why Mycorrhizae is important and beneficial to plants?

Remember the No-No’s:
Tilling and hoeing will make it impossible for the fungus to settle and thrive. Even annual tiling.
Synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, weed-killing plastic solarization and of course fungicides will destroy your precious micorrhizae. Monocultures, specifically cabbage family members slows down the successful spread.

Note: Mycorrhizal fungi may start of as a friend but end up taking over and turning parasitic due to poor light conditions for example where photosynthesis can not happen fast enough or where soil that is chemically fertilised .

Farming in small backyards: Urban homesteading.

Farming in small backyards vs growing gardens simply for ornamental reasons, which are now as outdated as owning a Prince Albert tea set that may almost never be used. Farming in cities and towns, known as urban agriculture, is the future and possibly the planet’s saving grace.

Where to start when considering farming in small backyards?
Combine edible and ornamental plants, insect and animals and micro-climates to create a sustainable ecosystem. The outcome should be a beautifully space to harvest food and also relax in.

Edible and ornamental plants are grown side by side as companions (see https://gardeningeden.net/2019/10/28/companion-planting/ ) to attract beneficial, and deter harmful pests. This really works! Your need for pest control will drop dramatically. Always plant successively so that you harvest today, next week and the week after from the same type of plant by sowing plant types 10 days apart.

Container gardens are a great consideration in regards to farming in small backyards: turn a little (possibly rented) outdoor space or window area into a small urban farm. This is an easy and cheap answer to most people.

Most importantly, the focus needs to be on polyculture (a word to describe growing many different plant types together) which will maximize yields. Combining climbing plants on a corn plant (which acts as a trellis) with pumpkins at their feet (to shade out weeds and help with water retention) is a great example. In order to do this successfully, you will need to feed your soil with compost. This is a great opportunity to stay within your own loop and use your own kitchen and garden waste to create soil food (see how to compost easily: https://gardeningeden.net/2019/11/06/diy-compost-easily)

Animal inclusion does not come easier than keeping quails (for smaller gardens) or chickens. Quails can be kept in a mobile upside-down chicken-wire “box” that allows them to move on bare earth but be protected from predators. They can thus be constantly moved to new spaces. Make sure the size of this wire-basket is big enough to allow their bodies to take up only 10% of the entire space and the rest is for moving around. Provide water and top-up food. Chickens and quails provide free pest control, fertilizer and eggs. It’s a win-win situation.

Ornamental plants are grown to attract pollinators or feed your bee hive if you have one. Group larger numbers of flower plants and herbs together because insects need spot these plashes from far away or they will fly to your neighbour’s. Would you like to see a plant list of pollinator attracting plants? Check these out: https://gardeningeden.net/2019/10/30/bee-gardening/
Alternatively, keep your own bee hive. It’s never been this easy. Check out the mason jar method: https://gardeningeden.net/2019/11/25/is-mason-jar-beekeeping-method/

Garden by the Moon – tried and tested over centuries

To garden by the moon works and has been a preferred way to plan and grow gardens, for centuries. This age-old practice of planting by the moon’s phases results in a healthier, more productive garden because the moon’s cycles affect moisture levels in plants, humans, soil and as everyone knows – the sea tides. Making the moon your gardening assistant will save you money and effort.

Water levels rise or fall depending on the phase. New Moon for example, will cause seeds to swell and burst, resulting in successful, easy germination and healthy plant growth. To garden by the moon in terms of successful propagation is an effective way to test this method.

It is best to plant certain types of plants during the waning (after full Moon) of the Moon and other types during the waxing (before full Moon) .

Follow the Moon phases 2020 guide below for how to garden by the moon:

How to garden organically: Top 10 hacks

How to garden organically is simple, easy and mostly free. Organic gardening encourage and include nature as its fertilizer, pesticide, fungicide and weed control. The tips discussed here include pantry items like honey when propagating. Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

How to garden organically is 99% logic and 1% patience. Once the garden’s true balance is restored, you will be amazed at the simple genius of the natural ecosystem design.

1) Epsom salt is first on the top 10 list. Use it to boost plant growth in general and when planting seedlings or new plants as they help with transplant shock (1 tablespoon of Epsom salt in the bottom of the hole followed with a thin layer of sand before planting as usual). Epsom salt consists of hydrated magnesium sulfate (magnesium and sulfur) which serves as a tonic booster for flower blooming and enhances a plant’s green color.
2) Keep the cooled water that was used in boiling vegetables or eggs. This water is a great nutrient-rich tea for your plants and depending on what was cooked in it, will be full of specific benefits such as a calcium left over from cooking eggs.
3) The enzymes in honey promote root growth. Dip your cuttings in honey to use it as a rooting hormone while also benefiting from its anti-fungal properties.
4) Hydrogen peroxide can help your seeds sprout, save your plants from fungal diseases and even prevent root rot (1 part hydrogen peroxide to 32 parts water in a spray bottle). It also helps grow healthy roots because of extra oxygen molecules and additionally aid the plant roots in absorbing nutrients from the soil. Make sure to use food grade hydrogen peroxide.
5) Sprinkle Cinnamon over your seedlings, plants and soil as it provides fungus and disease protection. When you make a cutting, dip the stem of almost any plant variety into cinnamon as it will stimulate root growth.
6) Keep pests like snails and slugs, ants and caterpillars away with used coffee grounds and instead attract earthworms. Bonus! This recycling idea for coffee is popular when pondering how to garden organically. An added benefit is that the plants will receive nitrogen from the grounds at the same time and microorganisms love coffee grounds, which is great for soil health.
7) Plant a hole-free terracotta pot near your plants, fill with water and close the top with its own tray. The clay lets water through slowly and as needed.
8) Use coffee filters when dealing with sandy or clay soil. Plant the filter as a container in position and fill with good soil before planting your seedling or seed. The filter will eventually decompose and provide the plant with carbon. Another great idea is to plant small boxes, paper bags or more filters near plants, filled with kitchen waste and topped with soil. These will turn into mini-compost bombs and the plant roots will go mad with joy when they grow upon them.
9) Vinegar kills young, soft-stemmed weeds and ants.
10) Use plastic-free cardboard around your fruit trees to keep weeds down long-term, sprinkle green foliage or soft-stemmed weeds over and add a layer of thick mulch to hide the lot. This combination of mulch, green waste and cardboard will decompose over time and feed your fruit trees for a long time to come.

Got any more tips we did not mention here? Leave them for us in the comment box below.

D.I.Y Keyhole Garden Guide – all you need to know

What is it?
A keyhole garden is a 2m-in-diameter circular garden bed with a compost tube in the middle – an absolutely brilliant method. See further down where we provide your D.I.Y Keyhole Garden Guide.

This concept was developed in Lesotho by the Consortium for Southern Africa Food Security Emergency (C-SAFE), originally and specifically, for individuals that find it challenging to garden traditionally. A solution to food security. The garden has a opening in the front, so that the composting pile can be turned easily. It includes a drainage layer, a growing-soil layer, and the planting area which, together, combines in a perfect all-in-one growing space. (Taller permaculture keyhole gardens are known as banana circles.)

Why do I want one?
This raised garden is constructed for an easier gardening method due to its easy plants access. The constant compost run-off and nutrient-availability makes for thriving plants and because they hold water it is also an obvious solution for drought-stricken areas.

Want to build one? Follow these 7 steps on you D.I.Y Keyhole Garden Guide:
1) Build a 2m in diameter and 1m high round wall with materials such as stones, wood or bricks. In the case of using wood (and thus incorporating a bit of Hugulkultur), please keep in mind, it is less permanent than stone or brick for example.
2) Create the composting bin in the centre (30cm in diameter and 30cm taller than the outer circle) with chicken wire which can be bought at a builder’s warehouse.
3) Open the outer wall by removing a length of about 45cm materials. Build a connecting wall on each side, to tie together the open points and the central composting bin. (Tip: The shape to aim for is a round pizza with one slice removed).
4) Using plastic and chemical-free cardboard or newspaper, line out the walls and ground inside the outer walls. Follow with a layer of green (nitrogen) materials, such as leaves and soft stemmed twigs, grass clippings or chicken manure. Sprinkle a little soil over this layer. Next, add wood chips or straw, also with a little soil and moisten. Repeat the layering (including the paper layer) and end off with good potting soil and compost (deep enough for planting).
5) Build these layers to form a hill with the highest points at the compost tube so that it slopes down to the outer walls. In time, this surface will have to be topped up with a soil/compost combination as you can expect the level to drop.
6) Fill the compost bin with green (nitrogen) and brown (carbon) materials. (For the easiest composting-how-to, see https://gardeningeden.net/2019/11/06/diy-compost-easily/)
7) Place your fruits and vegetables according to their sun requirements and height differences (highest at the back, medium heights in the middle and low-growing plants in front of the sun angle.

Keyhole kitchen gardens provide an ideal growing space because of its constant (compost) nutrient supply and producing nutrient-dense food. Crops can be planted in succession for all year food production and spaced intensively (when plants are planted together closely to maximize production) – but avoid tomatoes and other plants with bigger/wider root systems. Lastly and importantly, don’t restrict yourself to just one. And of course, share this D.I.Y Keyhole Garden Guide with friends- it’s a step in the right direction for many reasons! Happy gardening.

Compost step by step – boost your garden easily

Photo by Florian GIORGIO on Unsplash


What is the single most important boost you can give your garden? The answer is a compost diet that fuels plant growth and vitality to soil. Follow this recipe to compost step by step make your own nutrient-rich humus:
1) Create your pile on bare earth to allow worms and beneficial organisms to help.
2) Lay thicker sticks, twigs and straw down to aid with aeration.
3) Build layers of carbon and nitrogen materials (see YES list below).
4) Keep moist to the point that it’s not dripping but a handful can hold a shape when squeezed together.
5) Cover with wood or other sheeting to build up heat and retain moisture.
6)Turn quickly every 10 days with a shovel
7)Repeat steps 1 – 6 until the pile is a meter high. After that, start a new one.

An important step in compost step by step is to aim to have equal amounts of the following YES materials:
-Shredded cardboard, news- and other paper (gives carbon): only use non-glossy, ink-free paper (unless environment-friendly).
-Shrub prunings (gives carbon): the thicker sticks may take long to break down.
-Wood chips / pellets (gives a lot of carbon): use sparingly.
-Wood ash (gives carbon): use sparingly,only from clean materials.
-Hay or straw (gives carbon): straw is best as hay comes with seeds.
-Pine needles (gives carbon): can activate the compost pile and best used sparingly.
-Brown leaves (gives carbon): this makes a good much too.
-Corn cobs (gives carbon) slower to decompose when whole.
-Tea leaves (gives nitrogen): teabags or leaves can be used in any amount and they are great for activation of compost heaps.
-Food Scraps (fives nitrogen): follow dry carbon items with nitrogen items).
-Seaweed and kelp (gives nitrogen): great when added in thing layers.
-Green leaves, garden weeds and lawn clippings (gives nitrogen): lawn clippings should be un-clumped and thinly spread.
-Green comfrey leaves (gives nitrogen): an excellent activator for compost heaps and general food source.
-Flowers and stems (gives nitrogen): shredding up stems will speed up the process.
-Eggshells (gives calcium): best when crushed.
-Coffee grounds (gives nitrogen): an excellent garden booster, but don’t go wild.
-Chicken manure (gives nitrogen): another excellent activator.

Have none of the following NO materials:
-Sawdust should be used cautiously (sawdust is sometimes contaminated with oil and chemicals): mix properly in to avoid clumping.
-Meat, bones, or fish scraps (they attract pests): unless using a special composter designed for this purpose.
-Perennial weeds or diseased plants (they spread through seeds and infect through disease): de-weed before seed.
-Pet waste (in the case of using compost on food plants): for obvious reasons.

Compost step by step TIPS:
-Garden soil mixed in too, will help mask odors and microorganisms in the soil will accelerate the composting process.
-Activate your compost heap. use leaves wrapped in burlap and soaked in a large bucket of water. After three days, remove the “tea bag” and throw onto the compost. Pour the enriched tea onto your plants and shrubs. Comfrey leaves, grass clippings, young weeds, and well-rotted chicken manure all make excellent teas to activate.
-Avoid sogginess by maintaining a perfect nitrogen/carbon ratio.

Charles Dowding is a firm believe in the no-dig gardening method. I love him!

In short: add balance (nitrogen/carbon), add moisture, turn, repeat.

What are Hugelkultur beds and why are they popular?

The short answer to what are hugelkultur beds: Hügelkultur is a technique where a mound is created by placing wood in the shape and size of your desired growing bed. Eventually decaying wood debris and other compostable biomass plant materials is planted as a raised bed and this is an environment fit for plants to thrive in for years..

Due to our very sandy soil situation here next to the coast and not always having wood available, I pondered the question of what are hugelkultur beds on single plant scale and also started incorporating hugelkultur on a smaller scale for when I want to plant individual shrubs or trees.

– Water the space where you intend to plant.
– Find woody weeds, pruned sticks and branches plus kitchen waste. Position these to form a bowl by first laying down your base cover. Build a “dam” wall with the rest. Keep going to above the height of your plant’s root ball.
– Fill the bottom of your “bowl” with a mix of compost and potting soil plus a small amount of bone, or blood meal.
– Test your plant’s height and when you are happy proceed with planting as you would into a container.
– Finally, add a sheet or 2 of newspaper over the top and around, followed by 5 cm (2 – 3 inches) layer of mulch.
– Water well.
(- I add a handful of organic fertilizer to these planting pockets so that my plant can get all the nitrogen it needs, regardless of the wood chips I use)

The benefits have been obvious and plentiful. My trees are never dry, or water-logged, and mostly only gets their water from rain. Due to the mound, it also never gets waterlogged as the shape runs extra water down to the ground level where it can penetrate the soil further down and still be accessible for uptake.

(interested in more information?  https://gardeningeden.net/category/hugelkultur/ ?)

Please send us your pictures, challenges and success stories so that we can all learn together!

To understand what are hugelkultur beds one must understand the properties and nature of wood. Decayed wood turns into nutrient-rich, moisture retaining soill. Building beds to incorporate wood is a brilliant abd long-lasting soil improver.
For small gardens or single plants, copy the shape and principles of a bird’s nest. Photo by Sarath C M on Unsplash

DIY garden path steps and ideas

Photo by Niko Lienata on Unsplash

When you first plan a new garden, you have to establish what stays. Let’s call this the skeleton. Maybe it’s only your house or the fence, or perhaps that list includes trees. Secondly, the sunniest areas will be your best vegetable bed areas and these growing areas should be marked out. At this point, a garden path is planned according to the what stays and where-is-sun factors. Garden paths are extremely necessary and valuable as soil, seedlings and plants need protection from compacting through walking. I add further below a how-to and easy to follow DIY garden path steps and ideas.

In a no-dig garden such as my own, my DIY garden path steps consisted of simply placing cardboard sheets (non-glossy and all plastic removed) down in the shape of my desired path. I covered this up with wood chips and the whole exercise took me about 15 minutes. Yes, I need to top the layer up every 6 months or so, but only where needed and that’s an even faster process. This must be the easiest method in gardens where such a natural option is both practical and attractive. But it is not the only option available.

Other garden paths include bricks and gravel, paving stones and decking material, a combination option and mown paths.

For a brick path…
Pre-edge your path design with a frame of plastic or brick, and fill with soft sand. Compact the sand and follow with bricks. The bricks can be placed in any pattern of choice but must be followed with compacting again and finally a deep watering.

For a gravel, your DIY garden path steps…
Pre-edge your design as for a brick path and line the insides with plastic weed-restrictive plastic sheets. Follow with your gravel. Best gravel sizes are 5mm (1/4 inch) in size with rounded edges. These paths are good security measures as they sound under movement.

For a paving stone path…
Ask your local cement yard for reject pavers – they are usually happy to sell them to the public at a much reduced rate. As with brick paths, pavers follow an edging first, then sand process. If you plan to space your paving stones apart, make sure to add a weed-restrictive plastic layer before the sand.

For a decking material path…
Decked pathways are always raised on a frame and building and connecting smaller, rectangular shapes is the easiest method. Your local building warehouse and/or wood yard will be able to show you what wood will suit your needs best. A frame that stands 15cm off the ground level, topped with slates of decking will be neat and you can move the different frames around as needs change.

For a combination path…
Many gardeners like to combine gravel and paving stones for example. See each option for the how-to.

For a mow-it path…
Focusing on soil health is my number 1 priority and often case a path can be mown into a wild flower meadow or other beneficial cover crops. I personally love this idea.

How wide should the DIY garden path be? 1m – 1,2m is ideal. If you also have a frame to lean on or have garden tools that are wide, you can take their widths into consideration too.

Aim for the investment to be a one-time only output and try your best for a practical first, but definitely beautiful garden path as it will make such a difference to your garden. Do you have any good DIY garden path steps suggestions, advice or ideas? please share them with all of us in the comments below.

Easiest lawn removal steps – no effort

Grow more food, less lawn. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Do you have a wish to replace your lawn but don’t know where to start? Lawns, like all other mono (single-type) crops are devoid of natural balanceand many people opt for natural, pollinator-friendly or edible gardens. We show you the easiest lawn removal steps – no effort.

 

You will not find a thriving environment hidden in lawns but with the easiest lawn removal steps, you can turn it into rich, nutrient-dense soil that will be heaven to grow your plants in. 

Our previous generations loved controlling nature and lawns were popular methods. These pieces of visual control, would be sprayed with poison to kill and fed with artificial fertilizer to ensure only grass grows. Add non-stop irrigation and maintenance to the equation and you’ve lost me on why anyone still carries on with this antiquated idea of what makes a garden.

The idea of having to dig out a lawn and sweat many days to remove every last root is the most common complaint we hear. The solution includes the easiest lawn removal steps, plus it turns your lawn into beautiful soil food.

-Does the area get enough sun energy to grow anything in it? A simple method to test the sun strength is through a solar-powered toy. If it operates in the area you have in mind, you’re good to go.

-Also keep in mind that food gardens are more successful when closer to the home. Out of sight, out of mind has never been more true than for kitchen gardens.

– How about wind or winters? Ensure a favorable microclimate in an area that provides shelter. Study wind directions and see where you can benefit from a wall for instance. The south side of your house will be a good consideration for cold climate gardens.

– Have your considered your annual rainfall and irrigation requirements? You can grow kitchen gardens and orchards even in desert gardens by including swales. Read more here….

O.K, now that you’ve considered the above, follow these 5 easy steps!

1) Mark out the bed shapes you wish to have and place cardboard sheets down inside these shapes. The cardboard should be placed on top of the lawn and overlapping each other.

2) Build a simple wooden frame to place on top of the cardboard. A height of at least 15 cm will do.

3) Fill the raised bed frames with a thick layer of green mulch (food scraps, manure or leaves), followed by the same amount of brown mulch (compost or wood chips for example), sheets of news paper and wet so that it is only just moist.

4) Repeat the above layers to the top and moisten again.

5) Moisten only when dry. These beds will be ready to use after 2 months.

Are you wondering what happened to the lawn at the bottom? It became soil food and you will be amazed at how rich and fertile these beds will be to grow in.

Charles Dowding inspires like nobody else.

Please send us your pictures, challenges and success stories so that we can all learn together!