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The no digging way to have a new garden bed

The No Dig method of making a garden Bed

The longer I garden, the more that I am looking for ways to get the heavy lifting done with out me having to do it. My father once observed that I had a Tom Sawyer streak in me for getting other guys to do part or all of my chores. The following does not involve getting someone else to the labor it is simply a wonderful, easy way to make a new flower or vegetable bed in your yard or garden.

I think that I first heard about it from either Ruth Stout who wrote a book back in my semi-hippy days about no till gardening or Cassandra Danz,"Mrs. Greenthumb" who is on TV and who has written my two favorite general gardening books, each has the Mrs. Greenthumb name in them.
I have now used this method on more that one occasion and will testify that it works.

If you want a bed ready to plant either in late fall or next spring do the following:
(1) Define the area to be planted and mark it off with a hose or with something that will show you the limits.
(2) Cut the grass in the area close, or if you are not organic spray the area with Round Up.
(3) Put down at least five thicknesses of news paper or one layer of cardboard and make sure that you get complete coverage.
(4) Put enough mulch of some kind on top to hold the paper in place during the rain and wind storms. I usually completely cover it so I don't have to look at the white splotches.
(5) Look at it every couple of weeks to make sure no weed has escaped. If so hit it with round up or boiling water or simply pull it up and recover that area.
(6) The pay off, in six or eight weeks a change will take place and the plants you covered will be composted into the ground. The ground will be loose and usually if we have had normal rain fall you can move the dirt with your hands.

I would wait as long as reasonable to use the bed. If you did it this week you could plant in late September or October with out any problem. If you are putting in plants, simply rake with your hand enough space to plant, and leave the mulch in place. If planting seed rake away the row where you want to plant the seed. The ground under the much will be loose and friable and you did it all with very little effort so you have time to enjoy other things. Send a soil sample to the state when you start and before you are ready to plant you will have the information back in case you need to amend the soil by the addition of minerals or fertilizer.

If you try it, let me know how it works. I am available on line to answer any gardening question

John Acuff'
Country Lawyer
Master Gardener(certified to teach floriculture)





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