A Beginner’s Guide To No Dig Gardening


Tilling and soil turning are some of the basics of gardening, right? Not anymore. With the rise of the no dig gardening movement, the earth comes first. 

No dig gardens rely on layers of carbon and nitrogen materials, which essentially become a source of food for the plants and the soil that it calls home. High nitrogen materials, such as manures, blood and bone, break down high carbon materials like straw and newspaper in the presence of good moisture to become compost. More carbon material is required than nitrogen material, which means the nitrogen layers are thinner than the carbon layers. The process of balancing the right amount of carbon vs nitrogen is very similar to how composting works. 

The functionality of a no dig garden is actually quite straightforward, sustainable, organic, and generally a lot easier to action than most people think it is. Along with providing a less intrusive method of cultivation for the earth, it’s also considered to be the “lazy” way of gardening since there’s less manual labour involved – you’re not digging into the earth, but instead, you’re forming a garden on top of it. 

Why Is No Dig Gardening Gaining Popularity?

As the name suggests, no dig gardening is an organic method of growing vegetables without manually turning over the soil between crops, fruit or vegetables. While it may sound counter productive, it relies on the basics of how nature functions – as vegetation dies, it falls to the ground where it decomposes and is combined with the soil by the earthworms and other organisms. Instead of digging into the soil to plant, gardeners build up a garden bed or row on top of the earth. 

Gardeners are able to encourage this core function by adding organic matter to the garden such as layers of compost, mulch, manure and other carbon and nitrogen rich organic matter, in turn creating healthier soil and healthier plants – so what are the primary benefits associated with this method?

Less Manual Labour – Labour intensive digging, tilling and soil turning is greatly reduced through no dig gardening methods. The earth directly under our feet can be extremely difficult to work with if it’s hardened over time or compacted, especially if clay based. 

Increased Moisture Absorption – Organic matter such as mulch and compost added to no dig gardens greatly assist in water and moisture absorbency, along with reducing runoff. It can also help to “drought proof” your garden. 

Healthier Soil – Adding organic matter to soil helps the earth to function at its best, and how nature intended. You’re essentially giving the soil a “power up”, increasing fertility, encouraging an ecosystem, and ultimately making it “richer” in substance.

Fewer Weeds – Weeds are less likely to pop up through the layers of mulch and compost in your no dig garden, as there’s less bare soil for them to take root in. As the soil gets healthier, the organic matter also helps to suppress diseases and pests. Always remember to remove the seed heads of weeds to limit the germination of new weeds next season. Bioweed is a great addition as it can control weed seed that in comes in contact with. 

Encourage Nutrients And Microorganisms – When left undisturbed, the many beneficial organisms and bacteria within the soil will flourish and in time improve the soil’s overall structure. Add a natural plant food like Biotic Booster to give it an extra kick. 

You’re Saving The Planet – Regenerative gardening and farming practices, or specifically “no till” methods, help to encourage carbon sequestration. What this means is that carbon dioxide is locked into the earth’s soil, instead of heading up into the atmosphere. 

Ready To Start No Dig Gardening?

Whether you’re on the hunt for more tips with how to start gardening more efficiently at home, or further insights regarding an alternative for chemical based plant food, fertilisers or weed killers – then it’s always worth speaking to the professionals. 

Here at Bioweed, we specialise in environmentally friendly gardening products, including herbicides, plant probiotics, and natural alternatives to traditional gardening solutions. Should you have any questions about how to improve the sustainability of your home, garden or agricultural crop, get in touch with us today.