Some folks call it laziness. Other folks say it’s better for the earth. Either way, I’m going about preparing my veg patch in an unconventional way. I won’t be digging it over, not disturbing the soil at all. I’m trying a no-dig garden.
Some gardeners say that digging a bed over releases too much carbon from the soil, and disturbs its structure. That the soil suffers a setback and has to recover before it really can produce much. At this stage I’ve got some really beautiful soil, but it’s full of weeds, so I’m “sheet mulching,” putting down newsprint and cardboard, and wetting it, to suppress the weeds. I haven’t decided if I will mulch on top of this, and plant right through it when things warm up, or if I’ll just remove the cardboard later on once the grasses beneath are gone.
I’ve only just begun to lay down paper around the raspberry canes I put in, again to suppress the weeds. It isn’t pretty, but hopefully will make short work of weeding and preparing the soil. It’s an organic solution, and it’s my first venture into permaculture. I’m a bit undecided about what I’m going to grow here, due to complex variables including rabbits, deer, travel plans, and you don’t want to know. If all else fails, it will sit undisturbed til late summer when I hope to put in a winter garden of hearty greens. There’s always the pumpkin route, which I may take, and grow other things in the greenhouse and up on my deck. If I decide to leave the digless garden all summer I will put down layers across the whole patch, of straw, leaf mould, and compost, and leave the earthworms to do their work. Fingers crossed.