Does no dig gardening really work?


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I'm just learning about this 'no dig' gardening thing where you just compost and mulch on top of grass to start out a new bed. The guy in the video suggests using cardboard or carpet (cringe) over top of the new garden for several months to kill off the grass. I'm wondering how effective this is to actually kill off the grass? I keep imagining my new garden full of rogue grasses in between my veggies. Have you tried this no dig method? How has it worked out for you?

 
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The no dig no till method will work if there is zero grass. And the only way I know of to kill grass, weeds and their seeds is to solarize. Cardboard will not work nor will carpet as neither will kill the seeds which can live for years in soil. You can put a shovel of good compost onto a spot of soil, come back in 3 months and the soil is very workable. Now is the time to solarize. Start now and by next spring all of the grass, weeds and seeds will be gone. The secret to solarizing is to get the soil wet before laying down the plastic.
 
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Yes it does work and as chuck says, you don't want grass, but luckily grass generally needs a lot of sun, so I don't have much problem keeping it out of the mulchy areas.

Although, It does take a while for the soil to build up naturally, the heavier the mulch the quicker it happens. I've been using this method for a few years and my soil improves every year.
 
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You can speed the process along if you feed proteins and molasses. Bacterial blooms lead to fungal blooms. Once the fungal hyphae start growing deep, and I mean well through the tilling pan, the soil will moisten and soften. I can hand deliver a 2 meter rod into my garden soil.
 
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You can speed the process along if you feed proteins and molasses. Bacterial blooms lead to fungal blooms. Once the fungal hyphae start growing deep, and I mean well through the tilling pan, the soil will moisten and soften. I can hand deliver a 2 meter rod into my garden soil.
How do you prepare the protein and molasses for the yard?
 
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The no dig no till method will work if there is zero grass. And the only way I know of to kill grass, weeds and their seeds is to solarize. Cardboard will not work nor will carpet as neither will kill the seeds which can live for years in soil. You can put a shovel of good compost onto a spot of soil, come back in 3 months and the soil is very workable. Now is the time to solarize. Start now and by next spring all of the grass, weeds and seeds will be gone. The secret to solarizing is to get the soil wet before laying down the plastic.
Not familiar with solarize. Is that the act of dumping compost on a spot?
 
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Not familiar with solarize. Is that the act of dumping compost on a spot?
Solarize, in garden terms, means to heat the soil with the sun. It gets hot enough to kill seeds, grasses and weeds down to a substantial depth. One uses black or clear plastic sheeting to do this.
 
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How do you prepare the protein and molasses for the yard?
Mother nature does it for you. Soy bean meal is almost 50% protein. Molasses used in gardening is often the leftiver from making refined sugar and instead of being used in feed is given in gallons for deer attractant or other low level uses.
 
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You can speed the process along if you feed proteins and molasses. Bacterial blooms lead to fungal blooms. Once the fungal hyphae start growing deep, and I mean well through the tilling pan, the soil will moisten and soften. I can hand deliver a 2 meter rod into my garden soil.

DM, 2 meters is over 6 feet! How on earth did you get your soil that loose that deep?
 
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Sugar over time. Molasses really. That attracts bacteria. They in turn attract fungi. The fungal hyphae go deeper than 6 feet and will draw moisture up. The fungal hyphae are exactly like an interstate of fluid upon which bacteria and other nutrients, including oxygen will travel. When it dies back it leave a loosened organic soil. It takes the heat and rain also of course. And never think I did this on purpose. It was a case of dumbass. Too much fungi in the garden is not the best thing. But then it was my first real attempt at organic gardening and you hear things like molasses and epsom salts are magic potions but you do not really know why....

I had an epiphany when that same rod would not sink 6 inches into my lawn not 4 feet away from the garden.
 
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Sugar over time. Molasses really. That attracts bacteria. They in turn attract fungi. The fungal hyphae go deeper than 6 feet and will draw moisture up. The fungal hyphae are exactly like an interstate of fluid upon which bacteria and other nutrients, including oxygen will travel. When it dies back it leave a loosened organic soil. It takes the heat and rain also of course. And never think I did this on purpose. It was a case of dumbass. Too much fungi in the garden is not the best thing. But then it was my first real attempt at organic gardening and you hear things like molasses and epsom salts are magic potions but you do not really know why....

I had an epiphany when that same rod would not sink 6 inches into my lawn not 4 feet away from the garden.
Do you think same idea (molasses) would work for the lawn to loosen it up and improve soil conditions?
 
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I have seeds for daikon radishes to plant next fall. They are being used as a winter cover crop and are said to loosen the soil down to 24” as they grow. Breaking up this clay soil and getting some air and organic matter in it would really help my vegetable production.
 
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Thefungalyard.PNG


Do you think same idea (molasses) would work for the lawn to loosen it up and improve soil conditions?
Listen to me very carefully.

Yes.

But nature is so frugal the quantity of sugar you are not yet thinking of is off the chain. And so you can cause an imbalance.

Consider a plum. It has enough sugar to start a plum tree. Or a peach, or pear or orange. You have to think small like a blade of grass compared to a tree.

The picture above is the direct result of my idea of using organic proteins from soy bean meal to help my clay soil, and what mother nature thought about my delicious efforts to sneak in a second helping too close to the heat and humidity time of summer in Alabama. As captured and made eternal by Google Maps.

Those are fungal rings in my grass large enough to be seen on the satellite view of google maps bro.

In self defense, I had fired the Trugreen yard spray guys and had this effort to rejuvi the yard so it was a phase.
 
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Try to get your hands on a copy of this book......View attachment 36345
You people are cray cray. My poor neighbor has started thinking this is the thing too. They have been tilling the same plot for decades. It will be painful to watch if she actually tries it without the prerequisite naturalization of the soil. And even then, the soil we have gets so leached out by the heat and rain that its natural state just won't do for tomatoes.
 

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