What Are The Advantages Of No Dig Gardening? No-dig gardening is a method of gardening that involves layering organic matter on top of the soil, rather than digging it up. In my early days I used traditional gardening and horticulture techniques, that was how I made a living.

Since then I’ve tried No Dig and find it infinitely better. I’ve also used modified no dig which uses less compost in one go. But everyone must decide for themselves. Here are the Considerable Advantages Of No Dig Gardening as I see them.

Fennel Grown in the No Dig Garden
Fennel in my No Dig garden
  • It is easier on your back. No-dig gardening requires much less physical labour than traditional gardening, making it a great option for people with back problems or other physical limitations.
  • It is better for the environment. Digging up the soil can disturb and destroy the beneficial bacteria and fungi that live in the soil, while no-dig gardening leaves these organisms intact. This can help to improve the soil’s fertility and reduce the need for synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Digging also releases carbon as carbon dioxide, from the soil’s carbon store, and carbon dioxide is bad in that it in excess it causes global warming,
  • It can save you money. No-dig gardening requires less soil, water, and fertiliser than traditional gardening, which can save you money in the long run. I know some people say it is very expensive to start, but it actually needs no more compost than what many people dig in to their garden under a digging regime! And you can start with just a few square yards if you want.
  • It can help to produce healthier plants. No-dig gardening helps to create a more balanced and nutrient-rich soil, which can help your plants to grow healthier and produce more fruits, vegetables, and flowers. And by increasing the use of biointensive cropping we can grow more in less space.
  • Reduced work. No-dig gardening requires less work than traditional gardening methods. You do not need to till the soil, which can be a lot of work, especially if you have a large garden.
  • Improved soil health. No-dig gardening helps to improve soil health by leaving the soil structure intact. This allows for better drainage and aeration, ie better soil porosity which helps plants to grow better.
  • Less water usage. No-dig gardening can help to reduce water usage by creating a more water-permeable soil. This means that water will soak into the soil more quickly and plants will not need as much watering. The soil is also more moisture retentive. The combination of the two encourages plants to root deeper and seek out water for themselves. And better root systems mean stronger and healthier plants
  • Fewer weeds. No-dig gardening can certainly help to reduce weeds by creating a mulch layer on the surface of the soil. This mulch layer makes it difficult for weeds to germinate and grow plus it is easier to remove the few that do grow.
  • More productive crops. No-dig gardening can help to produce more productive crops by creating a more fertile soil. This is because no-dig gardening helps to increase the amount of organic matter in the soil, which is essential for plant growth. Much less of it is lost as carbon to the atmosphere.
  • No Dig increases biodiversity. This is partly because it is a wildlife friendly gardening technique but also, because it is more productive, we can leave more ground for natural processes where wildlife and biodiversity can thrive.

No Dig is just one of over 20 gardening techniques, but it is the one I favour most. If you are looking for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way to garden, no-dig gardening may be the perfect option for you. But No one is forcing you to try it. certainly not me. I merely explain my experience based one half a lifetime as a commercial grower and college lecturer. You must decide for yourself.

If you are looking for a way to reduce your workload and improve the health of your soil, no-dig gardening is a great option. There are many resources available to help you get started, including books, websites, and online courses.

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2 thoughts on “What Are The Advantages Of No Dig Gardening?

  1. Robert Ross says:

    I have been “no dig” for ten years and I changed to that method after reading an article in a gardening magazine by Charles Dowding and subsequently attending one of his talks. It has transformed my heavy Chilterns clay soil and as soil on many of my fellow allotment holders’ plots are cracking in this dry spell mine are not.
    I might add that if anyone is interested in seeing “no dig” in a commercial setting have a look at Richard Perkins on Youtube. He ran a highly successful smallholding in Sweden using “no dig” methods and he is known internationally as an expert in this area of horticulture.

    1. Stefan Drew says:

      It always amuses me when people say no dig will not work for them because they are own clay!

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