How to Create a No-Dig Garden

Putting in a garden doesn't necessarily require weeks of back-breaking work digging and tilling the ground. In fact, to create healthy, fertile garden beds you don't have to do any digging at all!

Lisa, one of our employee-owners, wanted to welcome more pollinators into her garden — and she wanted to be able to do it both quickly and sustainably. Watch as Charlie Nardozzi, author of The Complete Guide to No-Dig Gardening, helps Lisa create a no-dig garden chock full of native shrubs and perennials:

Digging and tilling can weaken and disrupt the soil's fragile microbial community, reduce its water-holding capacity, and destroy nutrient-rich fungi. With a no-dig garden, that doesn't happen.

4 Reasons To Build A No-Dig Garden

1. Fewer weeds: Dormant weed seeds are quick to germinate once they've been dug up and exposed to light. Smothering the surface with mulch and compost, also called "sheet mulching", will prevent them from germinating. You won't have NO weeds, but you'll have a lot fewer, and those that do sprout, will be easier to pull.

2. Better drainage: Digging leads to compaction, meaning water will pool and sit in puddles. By building soil up, you can avoid compaction and shed water from beds faster.

3. Healthier soil: Digging breaks up fungal networks that connect roots to soil, releases formally sequestered carbon into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, and disturbs worms and other beneficial microorganisms. Nourish your soil and protect soil structure by simply leaving it alone!

4. Less digging: Ok this one is a no-brainer! Save your back and shoulders by building a bed from the ground up, instead of trying to muscle heavy sod and grass out of the way. You'll get to start the fun part (planting!) sooner.

Sheet much layersLayering clean cardboard, straw, leaves, and compost creates a layered, resilient garden bed, ready for planting.

Last updated: 02/13/2024