Friday, August 10, 2012

A no dig no weed garden!?



 So how do you turn this into ----------------------------- This?  With no weeds and less watering?

It's really not that hard.  Honestly I really haven't had to weed much at all and it's really amazing how little I watered even in this drought year.  The concept of the no dig no weed garden was popularized by Ruth Stout.  You can see a video of her here.


So what do you do?


Pick a spot that in your lawn that you don't want to keep mowing.  A spot with few or no weeds tends not to grow weeds.


Put down som mulch in the Fall.  Notice I said Fall.  You can do it in the spring but it's not going to be as good.  What did I use for mulch?  Old chicken crap and straw that I pulled out of my coop.  Sometimes I have layers of grass clippings in or hay in it too.  I try to get it about at least 6 inches, 8 is preferred. Just plain straw works too.  I did a couple of sections that were great with just straw. 
In the spring you put your plants in.  To put them in you move the straw aside and dig a hole big enough to put the transplants in.  For a row of beans or corn move it aside and put the seeds in the dirt.  Ruth just throws them babies down.  In my side by side corn, I noticed that the seeds I pushed down into the dirt a little did better so I'd suggest sinking them in a bit.  Similar with beans. For smaller seeded stuff you'll have to make a space and weed it a while.  Then when it's big you can mulch it back up.

Then it grows up like this!   I only watered these tomatoes twice this whole summer and they're huge and full.


Here's an alternative mulch I discovered one day.  I noticed nothing seemed to be growing through an old barn door on the ground.  Hmm I said, maybe I can just use that as mulch.  Chicken wire keeps chickens off seedlings.

No weeding and no watering!  That's what I'm talkin about baby!


Here are a few observations.  I've been doing this 3 years now and it's awesome!!  The small seeded stuff does not like the mulch.  You'll need to make a space for it or better to buy/grow broccli in transplants.  Corn, beans, and other big seed plants do just fine. I suggest pushing them down into the wet soil after you pull the mulch aside, but you can just put some of the mulch back and make sure to mark the row.   If you have chickens you'll need a fence!!!  I lost some good beans to them.  So far I've grown tomatoes, squash, corn, beans, onions, sweet potatoe, potatoe, sunflower, grapes, and I did a section for tree seedlings like persimons.  Broccoli, cabbage, and my small seeds didn't make it my first year.  I pulled maybe 20 weeds out of the above garden.  No tilling just put some old chicken manure and straw down in the fall.  I like it. 




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