Make a Garden Bed Without Digging – The No-Dig Method

Make a Garden Bed or Garden Flower Beds without Digging – Do you have to dig up the soil and pick up growth to make a bed? There is another option. There is no need to dig the soil while using no-dig beds in your garden.

No-dig beds are comparable to raised beds or mound beds in appearance, but they are laid flat on the ground. They provide numerous benefits, the most important of which is labor savings during installation. We will explain the no-dig technique and provide step-by-step directions for establishing a fruitful bed in your garden.

What is a No-Dig Garden Bed

The term “no-dig bed” is a combination of the English words “no” for “not” and “dig” meaning “(digging up the soil)”. It literally translates as “no-dig bed.” The concept is that beds may be made without having to dig up the soil over a big area. This preserves the natural structure of the garden soil.

Every year, a no-dig bed is replenished with new material, and it always collapses as the components are gradually transformed by microbes. This causes the nutrient release and the formation of rich humus.

Heat is generated during the composting process, which aids plant growth in the No-dig bed and can therefore enhance yields. Hence the no-dig bed is similar to the raised bed and the raised mound bed. However, unlike these, the no-dig bed does not have to be replanted every 6 to 7 years, but instead simply continues to function.

Benefits of Building Garden Beds Without Digging

There are numerous benefits to employing the no-dig method when building a garden bed, but there are a few drawbacks. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the most important benefits.

Advantages of the No-Dig Method

  • Protection and promotion of soil health.
  • Long-term water storage capacity is excellent.
  • Easy to maintain and develop.
  • Weeds are effectively suppressed.
  • Building more humus improves soil fertility.
  • Yield increases as a result of the bed’s good heating caused by biological activity.
  • Raised and mounded beds require new planting every year or two, whereas this method lasts for decades.
  • Especially well-suited to high-yielding, demanding plants.

Disadvantages of No-Dig Garden Beds

  • In the beginning, it is unsuitable for root crops.
  • During fresh planting and annual replenishment, large amounts of compost are required.
  • In comparison to raised and mound beds, it has a lower ergonomic working height, poor heating, and drought protection.
  • Yields may be poor in the first few years, depending on the soil condition beneath the no-dig bed.
  • Moles are commonly attracted to no-dig beds because they can quickly burrow through them.

#Fact: The origins of the no-dig approach are unknown. It has been studied and applied since the mid-twentieth century. Charles Dowding, an Englishman, is a huge friend and promoter of the practice, and he also shares several years of tests with various bedding systems on his website.

How Can I Make a Garden Bed or Flower Bed Without Digging

Do you want to make a garden bed or a flower bed without having to dig? There are a few stages involved, but the work is well worth it. There are various methods for making a no-dig bed. We explain the well-known layering approach, the end result of which is also known as a lasagna bed.

It is best to make a bed without digging in the fall or spring. It is recommended to begin planting in the spring as early as February, just so the bed has time to settle. Here’s how it works,

  1. Locate an appropriate location for your bed. The location will, of course, be determined by the planned planting.
    #Tip: Because of their good warming capabilities, no-dig beds are especially appropriate for vegetable growing or even for demanding summer flowers and are frequently positioned in the sun.
  2. Mow the area where the garden bed is intended to be made.
  3. The future region can optionally be surrounded by bed borders. This will keep weeds out of the future bed and make it easy to pile up.
  4. Overlap multiple layers of newspaper or a layer of thin cardboard over the area. By sheltering, grasses and wild weeds from crucial sunlight will inhibit their growth. This layer should be well moistened. The paper will deteriorate over time.
    #Tip: Avoid using glossy printed materials since their inks comprise of heavy metals that should not be absorbed by the soil.
  5. Then comes a covering of “Green Organic Material”. Soft, nutrient-rich organic material such as grass clippings, vegetable and fruit leftovers, flowers, animal manure, tea bags, coffee grounds, weed clippings (without roots or seeds), or even old balcony flowers are examples. This nutrient-rich layer should be approximately 10 cm thick.
  6. Add a layer of mature compost around 5 cm thick on top of this. Fresh compost should never be used since it is considered too nutrient-dense.
  7. A layer of “brown material” is placed on top of this. This term refers to material that is hard, woody, and carbon-rich. Twigs, straw, leaves, dry shrub cuttings, hedge trimmings, bark as well as bark mulch, wood chips, or even paper are examples. This layer can also reach a height of about 10 cm.
  8. The layers of compost, green, as well as brown material can be alternated as many times as needed to achieve the desired height of the bed.
  9. Finally, cover the no-dig bed with a layer of compost-rich potting soil. Because of its high nutrient content, it is suitable for no-dig beds. In this top layer, the plants are sowed.

No Dig Garden Beds (Flower Beds) Maintenance

The no-dig bed will provide good yields if properly cared for. The steps listed below should be taken.

  1. Weeds: The no-dig bed is typically regarded as having fewer weeds since the plants under the bed are repressed when it is constructed by the cardboard cover. Weeds, on the other hand, can always grow in from the sides and get established. Weed seeds are also carried onto the site. As a result, weeding is a necessary aspect of maintaining the no-dig bed.
  2. Watering: The no-dig bed frequently requires a lot of water, especially in the first few years, because the thick, water-retaining humus layer is just starting to grow. As a result, water the bed on a regular basis if the finger test indicates that it is very dry or if the plants are floppy.
  3. Tilling: Hoeing in the no-dig bed is done at a depth of around 3 cm to avoid disturbing the soil life. It is preferable to apply a layer of mulch all around plants and manually remove weeds out of the soil by hand on a regular basis.
  4. Keep Slugs, Snails, and Moles out: Slugs, moles, and other pests thrive in no dig beds since they find a warm location with plenty of food.  In our publication, you’ll also find helpful hints on how to cope with voles in the garden.
  5. Piling up: Before planting and seeding, add at least a layer of green, nitrogen-rich material as well as one layer of brown, carbon-rich material to the no-dig bed each year in February. The top layer is nutrient-rich compost soil.
  6. Cover the no dig bed with mulch, paper, or cardboard in the winter to protect it from frost and avoid nutrient leaching. In the spring, this also inhibits the growth of seed weeds.

Mulching is important not only in no-dig garden beds but also in many other aspects of sustainable gardening. We will demonstrate the function, benefits, and technique of mulching.