Mulching as a way of suppressing weeds has always been on my radar, as has growing potatoes in straw rather than soil. The difficulty in having enough materials has resulted in me sticking with the tried and tested process of digging and weeding.

 

However, research during early 2016 into ‘hot composting’, suddenly being able to access a good supply of straw and realising I am wasting so much time weeding has led me to approach my new allotment growing in a different way.

 

With the help of You Tube I started to look at the concept of ‘no dig potatoes’, which in turn led me to look at ‘no dig’ gardening. Inspired by the videos by Charles Dowding I have decided to embrace this philosophy in its entirety on my new allotment.

 

The key ingredient is compost and mulch in large quantities. I therefore established contact with a local stable to obtain a regular supply of straw and manure. I constructed storage bins using old pallets, this allows be to organise my manure.

 

As composting relies on getting the balance of carbon and nitrogen right I use purpose built composting bins for weekly composting and wooden bins for larger irregular quantities of materials.

  

I acquired the new allotment in late May 2016 and immediately covered the growing area with polythene and carpets.

 

In November 2016 I arranged for the whole vegetable growing area to be rotavated. This was essential to break up the ground to improve drainage and to allow me to level the soil which was very uneven.

 

After rotavation I laid the 12 raised beds allowing a 60cm path which will be turfed. Not only will the paths look good on the eye, they will give me a plentiful supply of grass for mulching throughout the summer.

 

The beds were then divided further by creating a path initially made of sieved horse shavings and laid on weed suppressing material, but now with my own wood chips.

 

The summer of 2017 was successful in terms of crops grown and the minimal amount of maintenance due to no digging. It soon became clear that no dig = no weeds and so this is now our permanent approach to growing.

 

Please take a look at our Growing page to see the techniques and tips for each type of crop we grow.