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Thread: Where do you get all your No dig Material?

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    4Shoes's Avatar
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    Default Where do you get all your No dig Material?

    There was I enjoying the Winter Sun. Extending the Veg allotment by digging a new potato patch for next year. And thinking about the season ahead as you do...

    Get this dug... It is New Ground - Very Hard, Thick turf - so going to be a couple days work. Needs a bit of lime... Don't go there - Weeds and a test kit and soil structure. Is also last bit of allotment not limed.... Next good day, cover with the final grass cut of year and leave to next season.

    Wouldn't it be so much easier - no dig.... but where does everyone get the mulch from each year. I've sown Winter green fertilizer in last years potato patch and left peas/beans to next year before digging, but I'd still have half a full allotment to cover and I just don't have that sort of material.


    How do I get that volume of material?
    Do I need to grow crops specifically to mulch down?
    Is it a scavenger hunt?
    Do you take it on Bed by Bed year on year or a combination of all 3.


    OH is looking for raised beds, so like BikerMike and Baldy, will need even more.

    Advice welcome.

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    Charles Dowding seems to use lots of cow manure to mulch his beds but not all of us have access to that.
    I just do what I can with whatever I can find or produce. Its mostly the contents of the chicken run (which I use as a compost bin) and chuck in shredded paper, grass cuttings, leaves and all the plant waste that would go into a compost bin. The chooks eat some, stir it up and add their own "activators".
    Every few months, I rake it out and either pile it up or spread it on a bed if one is empty.

    A raised bed doesn't have to be "raised". It starts a couple of inches high and is built up over time. The soil you use to "raise" it can be stripped off the adjacent path.
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    Quote Originally Posted by veggiechicken View Post
    Charles Dowding seems to use lots of cow manure to mulch his beds but not all of us have access to that.
    I just do what I can with whatever I can find or produce. Its mostly the contents of the chicken run (which I use as a compost bin) and chuck in shredded paper, grass cuttings, leaves and all the plant waste that would go into a compost bin. The chooks eat some, stir it up and add their own "activators".
    Every few months, I rake it out and either pile it up or spread it on a bed if one is empty.

    A raised bed doesn't have to be "raised". It starts a couple of inches high and is built up over time. The soil you use to "raise" it can be stripped off the adjacent path.
    Easy to say that, but some people are traditionalists. Raised bed - 4 wooden sides

    That was what I was thinking....
    Right at the end on Beechgrove Garden... Banter about Next year and no dig.... same issue highlighted. So I thought i'd ask.
    Last edited by 4Shoes; 29-10-2018 at 09:07 PM.

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    Last edited by veggiechicken; 29-10-2018 at 09:09 PM.
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    This year I had 50 computer boxes and 50 monitor boxes - so cardboard was plentiful. I grab the weed suppressant that others have finished with and reuse it. 3 piles of woodchip delivered to the site and I seem to be the main beneficiary. Grass cuttings from the site too, others don't seem to use it. Some times it's just been turned over turf.
    Whatever I can get for nowt

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    I am about to take on an allotment that is going to be almost all no-dig. I am getting....
    - coffee grounds from a local coffee shop, literally as much as I can carry every day
    - grass cuttings from friends, they've only just started saving it all for me
    - a post on a few groups on FB has gotten me in touch with three people that have horses, and a promise I can come and get as much as I like
    - work has a couple of shredders and I am picking it all up
    - I spent no more than an hour in my local park, picked up 7 large bin bags full of leaves

    I'm obviously saving all the cardboard and paper from home too, and all clippings from the garden and peelings from the kitchen too.
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    Make your own compost. Lots of it.

    I'm only getting into the swing of bulk composting this year (previously I just put whatever I had into the daleks and left them to it) but here's some things to try:

    Check your neighbours - if they have a brown bin then they have compostable material they're throwing away.

    Look for horsey people. That's people who keep horses - not people who look like them. One horse can poop a bin bag full each day and they can be more than happy to let you take it off their hands (so to speak). All you have to do is pile it up and let it break down. Just make sure that it's weed killer free.

    Any jobbing gardeners or handymen around your neck of the woods doing peoples gardens? They have to get rid of the garden waste somewhere so it might as well go into your compost pile rather than the councils tips. It's a £36 a ton (minimum charge £18 for up to 500kg) at our local green waste facility for trade garden waste so they'll probably be happy to dump it on you for free. The crass clippings also make good mulching material throughout the year.

    Wen I'm on the bus in the mornings I often grab a pile of the free newspapers. These build up and can either be laid overlapping to suppress weeds or torn to shreds for brown in the compost.

    Bio-intensive gardening would have you grow biomass plants on 60% of the space you have to provide your own compost. This can be green manures or crops with a lot of organic residues. It can even be green manures grown out of season during the fallow months so instead of leaving your beds empty over winter grow winter green manures and crop them in the spring for the compost pile.

    Or grow more crops that have left over organic materials to compost - so less cabbages and lettuce where you eat most of it but more corn and beans where you have a fair bit of stuff left for the compost or root crops that will give you a lot of greens to compost.

    Use fast growing green manures like buckwheat whenever something has been cleared and you don't have anything to go in for a few weeks - the buckwheat can be pulled as soon as you're ready to transplant your next crop and thrown on the compost pile.

    Wandering round town of a night time I often see piles of cardboard boxes outside shops waiting for the dust cart. I'm sure nobody would rue the disappearance of a few bundles of these.

    You're going to need bigger compost bins than the daleks - I just couldn't get them hot enough to break the compost down quickly. Get some pallets, old fence panels or whatever you can to make some nice large compost bays. I also found it easier to turn the pile with a manure fork rather than a digging fork.

    Of course that takes time so check your council to see if they do bulk orders of green waste compost/soil conditioner for the initial set up if you need material in a hurry.

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    We're lucky to get a fortnightly load of a dozen bin bags of rabbit hutch waste. Mostly it's rape straw but it gets hot and rots quick so helps no end in the compost. Some beds are covered with compost the rest are covered with part-rotted wood chips. Ours is a 500 sq metre plot so takes a lot to cover, however it also means we grow more than we can eat so that adds to the compost too.
    4Shoes and muck lover like this.

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