We’ve recently decided to have another go at digging a vege patch. The last couple haven’t worked for a number of reasons, mostly it’s been my lack of watering lol, however the poor positioning of the patch away from direct sunlight hadn’t helped and neither had the wild rabbits who had managed to dig their way under the hedges and into the garden!
We had the use of a tiny bit of some disused land behind our garden that we hadn’t really considered due to it being even more exposed to the above mentioned rabbits, and it being absolutely covered in nettles. And also access to this bit of the garden is nigh on impossible other than by foot so getting in the required amount of topsoil required to a boxed in garden was extremely off-putting!
While researching a bit more about gardening for the absolute beginner, Mike came across this website – No Dig Vegetable Garden – and it has changed everything. Basically a No-Dig garden is one that consists of laying organic materials on top of the ground in a bid to break down into a nutrient rich base for your veges. Now this sounded like the type of gardening we could do.
We came across some old fencing pales in the carpark of a local pub one afternoon after a walk and the landlord said by all means to take them! Perfect for fencing off a little area to keep the rabbits out and also perfect for creating a frame for our gardens (btw this isn’t required for a no-dig garden but we thought it would help keep it all tidy.
So we set about putting the frames together and bashing them into the ground. We decided two patches 1m by 2m would be a good start. The next step was to begin the layering of organic materials. We used the plan on the No-Dig Vegetable Garden’s website as a guide.
First we used a base of thick brown cardboard (that we had funnily enough saved from the flat-pack chicken coop!). We created a double layer as we definitely want to kill off the nettles underneath. We were meant to liberally soak this layer with water, however our hose had completely frozen and it’s quite a walk from the tap to the new vege patch.
Next after purchasing 3 small bales of straw from a local farmer, we used about 2/3 of a bale to create a thickish layer on both patches. We spent a few minutes with the girls leaping around on it to flatten it down. We did eventually get to the tap with a bucket to pour a bit of water of it.
And lastly we rang a local horse stable to see if we could have some horse manure to use as our third layer. They were extremely accommodating and didn’t want any money for it which was fantastic as we’d seen a few online who had wanted payment!
And much to our delight the manure had already begun its decomposing process and was full of lovely worms (a spare couple of which were most appreciated by our greedy little hens!!)
We’ve covered it all with some of the old wooden fence palings while we get the next three layers ready. We’re thinking of going with a mixture of the leftover bale of straw and some shredded paper, followed by a layer of soil from a local nursery, lastly followed by some compost from our compost bin. We hope to do this this weekend coming and as we don’t intend to plant anything until end of March/April time, this should give it plenty of time to breakdown into a fantastic environment to grow our veges.
Stage 2 will be adding the final layers and we also hope to build another compost bin from the leftover fence palings as our current one is full! And the horse stable said we could go back for more manure if required. And we definitely need to build a secure little fence around the garden to keep out the rabbits!!