In Jackie French’s ‘Backyard Self Sufficiency’ she describes a garden full of life. Masses of healthy plants dripping with heirloom fruit and vegetables. Free-range chickens scratching in the earth for grubs and insects. Clumps of lavender growing beneath the clothesline. Native birds flitting amongst the trees. A compost heap in the back corner supplying rich black soil for the garden and reducing household waste. Native bees pollinating the fruit and vegetable crops and providing honey. In short, a complete ecology in your own backyard. Jackie French also describes a minimum work no-dig garden as an easy way to get a vegetable garden up and running.
I found another description of a no-dig garden in Leonie Norrington’s ‘Tropical Food Gardens’ which looked surprisingly quick and easy to establish.
What you will need:
- cardboard or newspaper
- potting mix
Step One: select a sunny site with exposure to the morning sun and preferably sheltered from the harsh afternoon sun.
Step Two: fertilise.
Step Three: lay down a layer of cardboard and wet throroughly.
Step Four: lay down a layer of straw and wet thoroughly.
Step Five: lay down a layer of manure and wet thoroughly.
Step Six: lay down another layer of straw and wet thoroughly.
Step Seven: lay out your seedlings.
Step Eight: divide parts of the straw and sit the seedlings in the gap. use the potting mix to stabilise the plants.
Step Nine: cover the potting mix with straw being sure to leave some space around the base of the plant.