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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:21 pm 
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I've seen people espouse the advantages of not disturbing the soil. Not ploughing or even digging. In some parts of the world, folk are inter-planting and hot turning the soil at all.

Then again, there is the practice of 'double-trenching' (or it is double digging?) in which soil is turned into a trench leaving a new trench into which the adjacent soil is turned.

A video my wife is currently watching seems to suggest planting into raised beds of pure compost and not digging at all.

If you are trying to cultivate a garden with rubbish soil, I can understand the principle of digging compost, manure, straw etc to give it some nutrients and better drainage.

Are these two approaches simply down to whether you are using soil or compost, or is there (as I suspect) rather more to it?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:00 pm 
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What are you trying to achieve ? compost in a raised bed will only last one season without adding manure/other nutrients.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:00 pm 
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What are you trying to achieve ?

Understanding. The different advice just confuses me. I'm trying to get my head around the theories of different systems I've come across. The video I referrred to said he added fresh compost each year, but didn't dig.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:16 pm 
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It's just a thought, but it could depend on the soil you have. I used to double dig most years but my soil is very heavy, it gets very compacted if you walk on it much. I don't do it any more, I've never liked digging and no longer have the time (or inclination). On a lighter soil, double digging may just be a wasted effort, but you will definitely need fresh nutrient in some form or another to grow veg.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:19 pm 
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If you are using an enclosed bed you will need to add nutrient each year since the plants will deplete what is there. Planting into a much larger ground mass is a bit different since there are natural cycles of growth and decay and nutrient flows in through ground water, root spread etc.
A greenhouse is a good example of this, ours has beds in it, they are closed system, without adding something the soil would become sterile quickly. We like to do this the natural and cheap way with homemade compost, a years worth of kitchen scraps and garden waste makes plenty of good compost to dig into the greenhouse each year for our tomatoes.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:06 am 
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Good summary of double digging here and a look at raised beds
https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=133
https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your ... aised-beds

Both are done on my allotments double digging to get out problem weed roots like marestail, horsetail, horseradish, bamboo etc etc, and to add in a layer of compost/green matter/manure to compost down below the existing topsoil to creater a greater depth of topsoil to grow into

Raised beds are often little more than 5" boards defining a bed and path and keeping the two apart which are then dug over and organic matter added as required.

One person on the allotments has created deeper raised beds about 15" deep starting with weed control fabric as a base and then adding compost and manure mixed. Each winter a bed is dug out as in double digging and manure added as a bottom layer. She originally did it as it was supposed to be easier and because her plot is very wet so it improves the drainage. It drys out much quicker though and still requires a lot of digging. Then theres the timber to install and maintain and cost of compost. the manure has to be collected from somewhere too

I have filled an old bath with sieved composted materials and use that for growing root veg like carrots and have an old water tank which I will do the same in so I can grow carrots otherwise in my soil the carrots fork and don't grow well because the soil is too dense. However I got reasonable results by growing carrots in 10" pots with compost in and in soil creating a deep hole in the soil by banging in a scaffold pole and waggling it about and filling the resulting hole with compost and planting parsnips into that

I have not dug my beds much this year as I have started covering them with a layer of mulch to prevent weeds, water evaporation and compaction and improve the top soil layer. I use composted leaves, allotment produced composted green matter and straw horse manure as the top dressing. I then keep off the soil as much as possible. It seems to work and prevent as much compaction on the soil. If a bed is not in use I cover with cheap weed control fabric or similar to which helps and also stop wind blown weed seeds like rose bay willowherb so saves a bit of weeding. I still fork over the top to get a decent crumb to plant into though and would add BFB. nitrogen fert, lime etc at planting time

Charles Dowding is the man when it comes to no dig and he seems to get demonstrably good yields from no dig beds
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVY4SJt4mzg


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