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Does anyone in this group go in for 'no dig' gardening? My son who is an ecologist/soil scientist is very keen on it, but I find it to resist a neat and tidy garden with the weeds removed.

CeliaVL 7 June 10
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My garden is No-Till for the most part. Any "tilling" I do is by hand because I don't have a tiller. It works pretty well for beans, squash, melons, onions, and okra, and apparently not so well for some other crops, in my experience. I'm currently experimenting with builders' plastic sheeting (black) for mulch. Worked reasonably well last year so I'm doing it again. Some places I use newspaper covered in organic mulch.

skado Level 8 June 10, 2018

Here in the desert, I grow everything in raised planters. Weeds are easy to pull out, but I rarely bother until the end of growing season.

My boy says better to cut them off and leave them on the surface, and leave the roots in place. You will have healthier soil.

@CeliaVL thanks, I will!


The no-dig method has its followers, but takes about as much work laying out the wet paper and compost covering each year around your plants. This top added nutrition may take a long time to actually work its way down to the root areas of many vegetables, fruit bushes, or deep rooted perennials. I am a lazy weeder and take a few of them out each time I pass by, rather than spend a couple hours of bending down labor to do it all at once. Also, I have a stainless steel bread knife for garden use only, and it makes a dandy weed head guillotine with a few easy swipes.


This is more lazy than aware, I have a patch of volunteer potatoes, I Roundup in early spring before they emerge and once they get a headstart they easily outstrip the weeds.

Buttercup Level 7 June 10, 2018

I wild garden but I do till everything back under in the fall. I use a collinear hoe that I bought from Lee Valley Tools, it shaves weeds off just below the surface and I get to do most of my weeding from a standing position which is good for my back. I think that's Elliot Coleman in the pic using his collinear hoe, he's the one I got the idea from. His garden is a lot tidier than mine. 😉

Surfpirate Level 8 June 10, 2018

I'm a great fan of reduced tillage. My cover crops are part of that process so I use their roots to do any 'tilling'. It is hard to resist an orderly and groomed garden but I've rejected that notion and I garden 'wild'. It does freak people out at times but, as nature abhors a vacuum, nature also abhors a monoculture. I won't remove my dead cover crop. I'll do some chop and drop for mulch and if you think about it, that crop, weeds, and the veggie crop have consumed nutrients from the soil. So why remove the nutrients from the bed? Chop and drop it!🙂

Quite agree with the wild concept. ... And I'm a lazy bastard who would rather rip out 3 foot long grass runners and drop them ever 6-9 months than whipper snipper or mow every week.

@FrayedBear It's also a soil building measure. The more organic matter you have going on, the more humus is made and the more water retention you'll get. It's just the healthiest way to garden. Right now, I have one bed that didn't get any cover crop seed in it and critters are in there digging up the green beans and carrots. The beds with cover are not being molested. There's 10 beds in this garden.

@farmboy2017 The local farmers have now got to the membership where they have their own shop/ office in town permanently recruiting new members. Soil moisture loss round here is a big issue during the growing season. Decent rain can evaporate out of the soil in a few days. My organic farming vegetable supplier sometimes needs to water twice a day.


I weed, "Preen" and at the end of the season "Erase"..... Guess I'm an evil gardener.


I will be trying the no till method once the chickens are out of the area that will be my garden. I’m going to heavy mulch it compost and plant. The chickens will do all the work keeping weeds down in till ready to plant.

Donto101 Level 7 June 10, 2018

Chickens are really useful, and fun to have around, too.

@CeliaVL I wish I had chickens.

@farmboy2017 we just picked up 6 chicks at the feed store yesterday morning then 4 more hens and 2 more roosters at the auction last night.


I am with your son,
I live on sand, so we mulch and compost anything that doesn't move,
the original ground level has never been touched, everything is grown above it.
Yes, my backyard looks like a disaster, but so productive, lots of weeds, chickens eat some, we eat some.
We do weed 4 times a year, garlic and some other crops would get outgrown by weeds, but weeds also get composted,
I am also an ecologist and teach geology as far as soil types go.
I do get rolls of garden edging at times, to try and contain the gardens, but am forever moving them as the garden spread.

Rugglesby Level 8 June 10, 2018

My son tells me it is perfectly alright to weed if you find the weeds unsightly or they are interfering with other plants, but cut them off at ground level - hoe for soft ones, secateurs for hard ones and leave the tops to mulch. It is pulling them out and walking over the soil all the time that harms the structure.

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