Growing food is my favourite thing about owning a garden. I love getting fresh veg and fruit straight from the ground. However, like many of you, I really dislike having to dig the beds over each year. Like many of you I imagine that this is something that, due to the perils of time, also gets more and more difficult each year.
With that in mind I thought I’d share some of the best ways you can grow food without the need to dig beds every year – whilst still being able to maximise your gardens productivity.
The No-Dig Method
There has been a lot of coverage of the no dig method and for anyone wanting to have a lot of hassle free gardening we can’t recommend this enough. Instead of digging over beds you simply spread fresh layers of compost and composting materials over the top of them and then pick out any weeds that peek through.
Traditional thinking has said that we should dig beds but recent research actually demonstrates that the no-dig method is more effective. The technique was originally brought to the fore in 1977 by the Australian horticulturalist Esther Dean.
The easiest way to do this is to create a raised bed. Then you can add layers to create a natural composting system. Base layers can include newspaper and cardboard, then you add animal manure or fertiliser, straw and then compost. This creates a warm composting layer with all the nutrients food needs to grow.
However, if raised beds and multiple layers sound like too much effort you can simply add compost to your existing soil. You are still adding valuable nutrients to the bed and you don’t have to dig at all!
Container gardening requires some soil disturbance but you don’t actually have to dig. Container gardening ranges from small pots to large tubs. Small pots are useful for a wide variety of growing vegetables and fruits – with exceptional results.
For container gardening all you need is containers, compost and some fertiliser. Small fruit bushes work well in large pots and you can grow onions, leafy greens and marrows and courgettes with ease. This is a fantastic way to avoid digging whilst still providing you with plenty of food.
One of our favourite container gardening options is large drum barrels for growing strawberries, carrots, and a range of other fruits and vegetables. Most commonly strawberries are grown in a plastic barrel with holes up the sides. The plants will grow comfortably out of the container as well as in the top section. These are the perfect solution wherever space is at a premium.
Grow Bag Gardening
Grow bags aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as containers but they do offer a very easy way to grow high quality fruit and vegetables. Most commonly, and very effectively, these are a fantastic way to grow tomatoes. All you need is canes and some plants – you simply cut slits in your grow bag and plant away. Grow bags are high yield and very easy – perfect for the less involved gardeners.
Adding fertiliser to your beds helps add vital nutrients. Fertilisers can be used with all of the above methods to improve crop yield. We have a wide range of fertilisers available for your use and can recommend some for whatever you would like to grow.
Hopefully this guide will give you some ideas for your own garden. We have everything you need to get started and would love to help you plan out your own dig free food production. If you have any great ideas of your own please let us know in the comments section below.