Maintaining a no-dig garden

Generally this type of garden is low maintenance, however,

it is not no maintenance!

Weeding: You may find wheat growing – this is from seeds amongst the straw. Pull it out and just

leave it lying on top of the straw.

Composting: Food scraps are a valuable addition to the garden. The simplest way to deal with

them is to simply bury them in the garden bed. Make sure the scraps are well covered with mulch

and soil so rats aren't tempted. Worms love food scraps and will quickly multiply in your garden.

Watering: The garden bed will be well soaked as it is constructed. The straw and lucerne will

remain moist for some time, but with vigorously growing plants and hot weather you will need to

water from time to time. Food plants are much happier with steady moisture (not sogginess,

though). Tomatoes and leafy greens in particular will suffer if their soil dries out. Even with regular

watering your vegetables won't be using as much water as commercial crops, so don't feel too

guilty. Save water from the house by keeping an ice-cream box or similar in the sink and hand

basin to collect rinsing water. Do consider a water tank.

Topping up the garden bed: Over time the lucerne, straw and manure will break down and you

will notice the bed's contents sinking. Refresh the bed each year with a bag of manure and a top

layer of straw or pea straw. Water these well and you are all set for the next crop. You can also

add autumn leaves, green waste from the greengrocer and light prunings, in layers under the


Fertilising: The lucerne and manure make a nitrogen rich growing medium. You won't need much

else for leafy green vegetables. Fruiting plants will need a little potassium in the form of potassium

sulphate (sulphate of potash) sprinkled around them to encourage flowers and fruit set. This

applies to tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, pumpkins, beans, peas, eggplants etc.  When planting

out seedlings, water in well with seaweed solution eg Seasol. This helps reduce transplant shock

and encourages root growth.

Crop rotation: Plant diseases can build up in the soil if the same type of plant is grown in the

same spot year after year. Tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants are particularly susceptible, so put

them in a different spot each year, with a three year cycle.