How to Make Amazing Soil Without Digging Up Your Garden

Garden Betty

Love to garden, but don't care for the back-breaking work that often goes along with it?

The good news is, all that digging and tilling you thought you had to do every season is totally unnecessary (and may even be bad for the soil).

So put down that shovel and start making healthy soil the lazy way by building a no-dig garden bed. This low-effort, no-till method yields healthier plants and fewer weeds, and your back will thank you for it.

I started with about 10 sheets of newspaper layered in the bottom of the tub. In my case, they were less for weed suppression, and more for adding brown matter and providing food for the worms that will make their home in the tub.

Next came a generous dusting of fertilizer—I went with a combination of blood meal and bone meal, but chicken manure, rabbit manure, or any high-nitrogen organic fertilizer would work.

Rather than following the suggested application on the packages, I tossed in a few handfuls of each, then watered them in well.

Then came the alfalfa. Alfalfa (also called lucerne hay) is the same stuff used as horse feed. It comes in bales that pull apart in 3-inch pads and makes an excellent base for a no-dig garden.

I covered the bottom of my tub with two layers of alfalfa pads (about 6 inches), a few more handfuls of bone meal and blood meal, then soaked them thoroughly with a hose.

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Garden Betty