I’ve been resurrecting an old raised bed this week – it was a little overgrown and neglected and I want to use it to grow cut flowers next year. Since I’ve been using the no-dig method in the veg patch, I decided to use it here as well, and it’s a good opportunity to share a bit of a “how-to” guide for anyone who is keen to make a bit more space for growing veggies next year.
Here’s the theory: Instead of digging over your plot and weeding it, you use an organic mulch instead. This is more akin to how nature works, and over time will improve the quality of the soil, reduce the number of weeds you have to contend with and generally make life easier for you. Now (in autumn) is a good time to get started.
To get going with the no dig method is quite straightforward, and even if you didn’t intend to continue with no-dig in the future it is a very quick and easy way to set up a new bed/plot.
Step 1 – pull up any ‘tough’ weeds – docks, brambles etc – but you can leave other weaker weeds and grass in situ.
Step 2 – cover the plot with cardboard (staples/tape removed)
Step 3 – cover the cardboard with a thick (10-15cm) layer of compost/well rotted manure
Step 4 – plant your plants straight into the compost in spring
Step 5 – hoe regularly to keep weeds down, and top up with a thinner layer (3cm) of compost the following autumn.
Honestly, it is so straightforward and quick to get going. I really recommend it. It can be a little pricy in terms of buying compost, but well worth the investment in the long run and will save you hours of weeding etc.
There are some other posts I’ve written about it below if you want to find out more.