Category: Permaculture

No Dig Abundance: A Weedy Field Becomes Garden In 9 Months Using Mulches Only

Tilling and weeding are probably the least appealing aspects of gardening. The processes are time-consuming and they demand monotonous, laborious work. But do you really need to dig your garden? Maybe not!

The No-Dig gardening technique discussed in Charles Dowding’s video does exactly what the name implies. It removes the back-breaking part of turning over the soil. As a lead innovator and staunch proponent of no-dig gardening since the ‘80s, Charles knows a thing or two about the gardening technique—and he shares some tips in the video.

A common mistake people make is to assume the soil is merely a “mineral balance sheet” to provide minerals to plants. On the contrary, it’s a rich, diverse, and complex eco-system—bustling with billions of micro-organisms, worms, and fungi that help feed the plant roots. In fact, some studies show that earthworms improve farm productivity in a number of ways—including improving drainage, the availability of nutrients and aerating the soil.

The idea of no-dig works in nature, of course – and so it can work in your gardening. Rather than disrupt soil life; it feeds it! The first step in building a no-dig garden is identifying the characteristics of the bed. Is the area already cultivated? Are there weeds?

Depending on your land, cover the bed with a thick layer of mulch, organic matter, or cardboard. The idea is to prevent light from penetrating down into the soil. This kills the weeds underneath and adds nutrients to the soil in preparation for the sowing season. The beauty of the no-dig method is that you can build gardening beds virtually anywhere with minimal hassle.

Note that no-dig doesn’t mean chaos. You will still need to do your research on the best sowing and harvesting times for your crops.

NO DIG ABUNDANCE – A Weedy Field Becomes Garden In 9 Months, Using Mulches OnlyNo Dig Abundance – A Weedy Field Becomes Garden in 9 Months Using Mulches Only – Images:

My 5 Most Profitable Crops

If you run a small-scale produce garden and you have ideas to turn it into a profitable business, Curtis Stone (aka. the Urban Farmer) recommends you find a high-value crop that is popular, has a short maturity time (less than 60 days), a high yield per foot, and one that grows through several seasons. Here is his list of his most profitable crops.

1. Salad Mix: Curtis ranks salad mix (a mix of different lettuces, including green sweet crisp and red butter) as his most profitable product—accounting for over a quarter of the farm’s total revenue.

2. Microgreens (Sunflower Shoots & Pea Shoots): Microgreens take a few days from seed to harvest, they barely occupy space, they can be grown all year round. This means that you can have a steady supply of revenue all year round.

3. Arugula: Farm-to-table restaurants and grocery stores love arugula for its health benefits and zippy flavor. The demand of the leafy green coupled with its high yield per foot and short maturity time (i.e., 21 days from seed to harvest) makes for a great investment.

4. Spinach: Spinach is a common plant in most regions and it has several culinary uses. It’s also a good yielder that thrives in most seasons. It also provides “continual cropping” during its growing season as leaves can be harvested as required while the plants continue to produce more. Additionally, you can either sell it as premium baby greens for use in salads with the first cut or as full-grown leaves to be used for cooking in the next cuts.

5. White Salad Turnip: The final most profitable crop on Curtis Stone’s farm is the white salad turnip. Its investment appeal stems from the harvest time that can be as short as 30 days and the premium price it fetches. You can also harvest the thinned seedlings in addition to the sweet-tasting roots.

Please note that this list is not conclusive and the profitability of the crops depends on the climate of your region, your farming practices, and the existing market.

My 5 Most Profitable Crops
My 5 Most Profitable Crops – Images:

7 Things You Can Bury In the Garden To Improve The Soil

In many places in the world, soils have become depleted of essential nutrients due to certain farming practices and due to simple overuse. This video by Self Sufficient Me looks at 7 things you can bury in the garden to improve the soil and help your produce grow better!

1. Animals that have passed away I was surprised that he put this as number one but it’s a fact of life. Be sure to bury them deeply enough that any bad smells will be trapped and they will not be dug up by other animals.

2. Eggs – these make a great fertilizer for plants. Eggshells can also be buried in the soil after they have been crushed to finer bits. The component is rich in many nutrients such as calcium, potassium, nitrogen, zinc, magnesium, and copper which are essential for plant growth. However whole eggs that have gone off can be buried too.

3. Animal Manures – it is generally advised to leave animals manures to break down for several months before burying them as many plants don’t like fresh manure. The exception is cat, dog and human waste which is not considered to have a good content for farming.

4. Kitchen veggie scraps – These scraps are biodegradable materials that decompose and breakdown into the basic nutrients required in the soil. Kitchen scraps can simply be buried and then new crops planted above them. The scraps also offer food for earthworms that live in the soils and provide it with better aeration necessary for the plants. A further benefit here is that while compost heaps are typical, these also can attract animal and insect pests.

5. Coffee and tea waste – Used coffee grounds and tea leaves have plenty of beneficial minerals and other nutrients for the soil. It’s advised not to put too much in one spot as this could increase the acidity of the soil.

6. Garden “green waste” – Garden waste is generated after doing garden chores like pruning, sweeping leaves, and removing dead plants from the garden. This kind of waste can be buried in the soil or made into compost before mixing with the soil. Small scraps work well but larger logs can also be buried, perhaps “hugelkulture style” in raised beds. Logs provide a “slow release” of nutrients into the soil.

7. Worms – Our avid organic gardener in the video states that he “treats the whole garden like it’s one big worm farm” and this is an excellent general strategy to consider. It’s worms, ultimately, that perform the greatest function of processing organic matter and rendering it into the most perfect form that will be utilized by plants. If you could consider that worms are one of our greatest allies in the natural world, you would not be going too far wrong. Whenever he finds a worm on the surface, our host buries it. He also purchases and uses worm eggs to increase the number of worms in the garden.

The final tip is not to overdo it and to put excess waste into a compost heap.

7 Things You Can BURY In The GARDEN To Improve The Soil
7 Things You Can Bury In the Garden to Improve the Soil – Images: