| May 28, 2009

Back to HomeMaster Gardeners - May 28, 2009 A No-Dig Garden

by Ankaret Dean, Lanark County Master Gardeners

As fall advances, our thoughts may turn to changes in our garden planning. Are you thinking of new flowerbeds or perhaps a patch for growing salad vegetables? One of the difficulties of making a new garden bed is the preparation of the soil and the removal of previous growing materials. This is very often lawn grass or maybe a weedy patch of field grass with long trailing roots, which have to be removed otherwise your new bed will quickly revert to a weedy patch again.

There is a quite painless simple solution called 'no-dig' gardening. It takes a length of time though, and now is the time to prepare the garden ready for next spring. The method is quite simple, and requires covering up the garden area by excluding light so that the plants below will die off. There are various methods for this.

The simplest method is to cover the area with several layers of newspaper, then weigh down with wood chips to stop them blowing away. You could also use heavy black plastic instead of newspaper. A better method is to also enrich the soil at the same time, by covering it with rotted manure prior to covering out the light. This method will provide you with a well-prepared soil, as well as it being weed free.

The last method was used to prepare the labyrinth at the Schoolhouse in McDonalds Corners in 2000. The area was prepared in October and by the end of April was ready for planting the 600 willow cuttings. The only slight problem is that the frozen ground below the layers of newspapers/plastic and woodchips is slow to warm up.

For more gardening information, call Ankaret Dean at 613-278-1203.


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