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layering a gardenIt takes two hours to set up a 300-square-foot garden that requires no roto-tilling -- no digging at all! -- and, even in drought-stricken California, only needs to be watered every ten days or so. Why aren't we all doing this?

A no-dig bed can be created anywhere. Pat Marfisi's luscious plot was built on a concrete patio! Beginning with ten or twenty layers of newspapers, the gardener layers on hay, straw, and compost, dusting between each layer with blood and bone meal. You can find detailed instructions of this "absurdly easy" project here.

No-dig gardens conserve water, as well. Once the plants have established their root systems, the layers of compost and straw hold in the moisture. The mixture does break down, so you'll be adding layers from time to time. It might look a little messier than your standard garden, and you'll still have to fertilize, at least initially, but once you start harvesting, all doubts will quickly vanish.

via: Apartment Therapy


  • Bill Volk

    Ilona -- this garden would be great in my neck of the woods -- north Georgia -- where we are under pretty draconian watering restrictions; one of the few exceptions is a food garden. A rain barrel would be a very helpful adjunct to this project.
    A thoughtful article; thanks.

  • Ilona

    Rain barrel! What a great thought! Wish I'd thought to add a line about that possibility. Thanks for the tip.

    From what I've heard about Georgia gardening, another advantage of this type of garden for you would be that you wouldn't be having to try to till that heavy Georgia clay.

  • John

    Great idea. Curious how well this would work in southern Nevada. Will have to research it a little further.

  • Baron

    That is an interesting concept. I found these on another blog (Toolmonger for those interested) a while back. I'm not sure if they are the same ones they talked about on there or not, but the concept is the same. They can (and are apparently) be used for "jello" wrestling, spill cleanup, etc. I just found it neat that some people till them into the soil and they help with water conservation. I would have done it in my yard had I known about them last time I tilled.

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