How to make a ‘No Dig’ vegetable bed for free!


Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a first timer, nothing beats that satisfaction of eating your own home grown fruit and vegetables.

Firstly, wait for a few dry days to make the ground workable. This is especially important if your soil is heavy clay like ours.

These beds are all about production and ease of use, so I used triangulation to measure out 3 new beds. Each bed is 12’ long by 1.5m wide – and yes – I am proud to be able to work in metric and imperial! Between each bed is a path 3’ wide.

Use a half moon turf cutter or spade to cut out round the edge of the beds. Then, take a small spades-width of turf off around the perimeter of the bed and flop this over into the bed trf side down. Go around this turfed strip with the border spade and just flick the soil away from the edge and place it in the middle of the bed. This means edging the grass is going to be quick and easy and slugs will have nowhere to hide! You can also use this flipped soil to even out any level irregularities across your bed. Good, that’s the hard bit done!

Next, it’s time to Bio cha cha cha! Sprinkle on a half inch (or thereabouts) over the bed. This is plain Biochar that I charged up with seaweed extract, and it goes on over the grass and flipped soil edges. Then, put a layer of cardboard over the entire bed.

Fabulous! Now, mow the lawn and put a thick mulch of about 4” grass clippings over the entire bed. If you don’t have a lawn, try asking your neighbour.
Take an old piece of carpet or weed suppressant matting and secure it over the top. Leave it alone and concentrate on other garden jobs for a couple of weeks.

This is a beautiful and magic combination. Here’s the Science:
The large amount of Carbon in Biochar loves nitrogen and bonds to it rendering it temporarily unavailable in soil. Nitrogen is the element responsible for luscious leafy growth. So, make more Nitrogen available by adding the grass clippings, and don’t forget that you haven’t turfed the whole bed so there’s still that grass involved too. Now, you could use plain char to do this but because time is of the essence, and I want big ‘boufie’ plants, I used the Biochar soaked in seaweed extract to really ramp things up.

The idea is to leave these beds composting down while I get lots of seedlings ready in the greenhouse, then all I have to do is dig a little planting hole and pop my small plant in.

Easy peasy!

Fancy trying it yourself? We’d love to see how you get on! Tag us as @therealsayitwithwood on Instagram or @sayitwithwood on facebook. Happy growing!!!

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