You don’t have to look very hard before you find miracle garden advice on “no-dig” gardens. It’s made to look so easy, effortless and “instant”. Well, often if it sounds to good to be true it is just that. Don’t be fooled. Digging garden beds is an ancient practice and for good reasons. It is an excellent way to prepare garden beds.
Advantages of the Digging Method to Prepare Garden Beds:
- Organic matter that you have topped up your garden with is much more productive when dug in.
- Garden plants require a good depth of enriched soil and the best way to achieve that is by disturbing the soil and spreading all those good nutrients around and down.
- Soil that is not dug becomes compact and plant root systems find it hard to penetrate to a sufficient depth for adequate root support.
- When the soil becomes compact you are more likely to get areas where water pools. Where water pools you get root rot and loss of plants.
- Laying down barriers so as not to dig is far from ideal to prepare garden beds. Newsprint adds heavy metals to the soil from the print and has very little nutrient value. Newspaper, mulch and sawdust also remove nitrogen from the soil as they break down.
- Digging aerates the top layer, breaking down pancake crusts and loosens up the soil. This enables young roots to penetrate deeper for healthier plants. When the soil is lifted essential oxygen is added back in.
- When the outer edges of beds are dug the roots of competing neighbours such as trees and shrubs are cut and damaged. Left to develop they would steal nutrients away from your garden plants.
- Garden beds that are regularly dug are much easier to dig than those which have been neglected for years. The job gets easier the more you do it.
- Digging the garden is a great exercise for the gardener. Be sure to use an appropriate spade or fork for your size and strength, and don’t expect to do it all in one day.
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