Organic Gardening, The No Dig Method (Main)

Organic Gardening: The No Dig Method

Monday, 25 April, 2022
Organic Gardening, The No Dig Method (Main)
Image: Courtesy of Charles Dowding

To Dig, or Not To Dig – That is the Question

Weeds are every gardener’s enemy and clearing them is exhausting, time-consuming, and in some cases futile.

Digging has been the traditional method of clearing weeds and has the added benefit of incorporating potassium and phosphorus into the soil. The physical churning of the soil adds air to the top layer that allows oxygen and nutrients to reach plants’ roots.


So why would we not dig?

Digging is time labour intensive, and the popularity of the no-dig method has exponentially increased in recent years boasting less time, less energy, and more abundant harvests. 

Sounds too good to be true? Let’s get into it.


What is the No Dig Method?

The No Dig Method builds the soil structure naturally, with little physical exertion, but also the added benefit of producing more vegetables than before.

Sounding too good to be true? The no-dig method works with the soil, allowing it to build its own structure that is more aerated, allowing more flowers and vegetables to grow. This also works on heavy clay that is notoriously nutrient sparse and difficult to get abundant harvests from. You reap the benefits after just six months. 

But don’t just take our word for it…

No-Dig expert Charles Dowding explains that ‘undisturbed soil does not need to recover… just as disturbed people need to recover, so does disturbed soil, and the way it achieves this is through growing weeds. ’The no-dig method is hailed as a cheaper, more time and effort effective solution to weeds, regardless of age and ability.

Organic Gardening, The No Dig Method (Charles Dowding)
Image: Charles Dowding, No Dig Gardening Expert

So, let’s get into it. How do I no-dig my garden? 

  1. Cut down weed foliage to ground level. This is most of the physical labour that will be required. All weeding in future will be less labour intensive as the roots will be shallower and easily pulled from the mulch.
  2. Lay sheets of light-excluding compostable material (such as cardboard) over the soil so it is completely covered. This is key in preventing the growth of weeds as they require sunlight.
  3. Add 1 inch of RocketGro’s Magic Mulch*. This peat-free organic mulch is the perfect natural addition to your garden, encouraging growth of vegetables whilst also forming a hostile environment for weeds. By covering your soil with Magic Mulch, the soil maintains its organic goodness for three months.
  4. Tread the mulch down firmly to ensure all light is excluded.
  5. Wait for 6 months for the weeds to be weakened. Let the Magic Mulch do its work!
  6. After 6 months, the soil will be rich enough that weeds should tug out easily.
  7. Enjoy your new less-effort more-vegetable garden


Important: be patient, the tougher weeds with deep roots can take up to a year to be weakened by the no-dig method.


If you choose another product, you may need a 20cm depth of fertiliser to ensure the same level of nutrient goodness is absorbed by your soil.


What are the benefits of No-Dig gardening? 

  • The soil is not disrupted, allowing microorganisms, fungi, and worms to maintain the natural balance of the soil.
  • The undisturbed ground is harder for weeds to grow in, and the organic mulch is easier to pull weeds from too.
  • Water drainage is improved as the soil’s structure builds up naturally and is not churned continually
  • No-dig is minimally laborious and so suitable for all ages and abilities
  • You can tread on the beds because the undisturbed soil doesn’t stick to your boots. This includes in wet weather because of the excellent water drainage
  • More abundant harvests
  • Gardening becomes easier over time because fewer weeds grow
  • The no-dig method works on plots of any size, from acres to a single bed. So, there are no excuses!

The key? A nutrient-rich mulch.


Introducing Magic Mulch: the perfect mulch for your no-dig garden 

Our peat-free garden mulch is a weed suppressant and natural fertiliser. Rich in N:P:K (4.4: 2.3: 5.6), Magic Mulch supplies your soil with bio-available micronutrients and microbes which improve the structure of your soil to generate superior yield and growth.


Naturally produced in Somerset, Magic Mulch is the fibre by-product of our gas and electricity production called digestate. Magic Mulch is 100% chemical-free and peat-free, locking in moisture and warmth whilst suppressing weeds and being worm friendly.


What is inside Magic Mulch?

Charged with nitrogen (N) for leaf growth, phosphorous (P) for root growth, potassium (K) for overall plant function. Magic Mulch also contains calcium to improve water penetrability and reduced soil salinity, magnesium for improved plant growth, and zinc, a central component for metabolic reactions in plants. 


Not getting enough from your garden yet?

Click here for more information on Magic Mulch and shop our other organic gardening products by RocketGro to skyrocket your harvests.


Dig into more gardening tips through the rest of our organic blog here.


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