The no dig gardening is a gardening technique which is used by quite a few organic gardeners. No dig gardening techniques allow nature to do all the cultivation work instead of doing it yourself with forks and spades. Although the origin of this technique is still unknown, it is suspected that the method originated in the pre-industrial or the nineteenth century and is based on such farming techniques. No dig gardening techniques recognizes the importance of the micro-biotic and macro-biotic organisms in the cycling of the nutrients and to prevent the problematic organisms and the diseases caused by them.
The man who started the pioneering research in the domain of the no dig gardening techniques in 1938 was the, a Japanese agricultural scientist and published his work in 1970s which was called “Do Nothing Farming”. The people who made progress in this field in the 20th century were the two Englishmen, F. C. King who was the Head Gardener at the Levens Hall in South Westmorland in the Lake District and a gardener, A. Guest from the Middlecliffe in UK. F. C. King wrote his book with the title of “Is Digging Necessary?” in 1946 and A. Guest published his book “Gardening Without Digging” two years later in 1948. Both the books and the work these gardeners was supported and approved by the Good Gardeners Association in the UK. The no dig gardening techniques were also promoted by the Esther Deans in Australia in 1970s and by Ruth Stout, an American gardener who then promoted a permanent gardening fertilizing technique in 1950s and 1960s in “Gardening Without Work” and no dig methods.
How it Works
The no dig gardening techniques make up for the cultivation by digging up the soil through the natural cultivators like micro-organisms. When the plants transfer a portion of their produced carbon energy to the soil, the microbes in the soil absorb that energy and in turn convert the available organic substances in the soil to the mineral elements which are necessary for the plants to thrive.
As explained earlier, the no dig techniques let the nature to handle the cultivation process. The organic matter like rotten manure, leaf mould, old straw, compost and the spent mushroom etc. is added to soil directly, both on the surface to the depth of 2 to 6 inches. This organic matter is then integrated into the soil by the worms, microbes and insects.
One of the no dig methods is known as the sheet mulching. In this technique, the area of the garden is covered with cardboard or wetted paper, compost and is then topped off with landscape mulch.
No Dig Pioneers in Modern Age in UK
The no dig techniques have been researched and worked since 19th century or so but the modern age hasn’t let up on it yet. Charles Dowding has been practising the no dig techniques in his market gardens and on areas which ranged from a quarter acres to 7 acres for almost 25 years since 1982. His work includes 7 books on no-dig gardening and he actively gives courses and regular talks on the no-dig gardening techniques and the best ways to apply them. His no dig gardening methods revolve around the compost which is more suited to climate of UK. He specializes in salad leaves and encourages the farmers to be adaptable in their gardening approach.