Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Reasons not to dig 1: You don't want to bring weed seed to the surface


Reason 1: not to bring buried weed seed to the surface

These leeks in my vegetable garden are sown broadcast. Normally gardeners sow in rows so that they can distinguish plants from weeds. ‘One year’s seeding is seven year’s weeding’. According to this old adage, if you kill germinated weeds before they seed, after a few years the soil’s bank of dormant weed seeds near the surface becomes exhausted. Those who dig are always bringing new weed seeds to the surface and are never in control. Of course we all fail to completely achieve this virtuous cycle and wind-born weed seeds still arrive!


10 comments:

  1. Much as I am attracted to the no dig idea, I wonder if it would be suitable for allotment gardening? My allotment was in such a state when I took it on that the idea of NOT digging just didn't occur!

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  2. It most certainly is, but it will take me a number of future blogs to explain how you continue managing a non dig allotment like mine (I tend to call my veg garden an allotment)
    Yes get rid off all those weeds with glyphosate before you start serious planting and sowing.

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  3. I'll keep coming back then! Allotments do take over your life if you let them!
    - Kit

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  4. I like the idea of the no dig method, but would it work on heavy clay? I am down the road at Foggathorpe and the soil is classified as Foggathorpe Clay. My garden has standing water even when it's deep dug!

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  5. Good question. Incomplete answer.
    Clay soils benefit more than any other by minimum cultivation
    Quite a few blogs will be needed......
    I hope by winter digging time you will have confidence not to dig. By spring you will know how to make no dig work. (I am imagining we are talking about a veg plot here)
    In the meantime grow plants.Grow veg through the winter and/or use a green manure.
    As to drainage. The two aspects to drainage are a) water penetrating the soil
    b) water having somewhere to go!
    No dig will help with the first

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the answer, incomplete though it is. However, I hadn't planned on taking a correspondence course! Just wanted to know if the no dig method, which I have always had some interest in, would be at all suitable on Foggathorpe Series clay which is renowned for poor drainage and seasonal waterlogging. Growing veg in such conditions is extremely hard work!

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  6. Sorry I am so verbose. It's what lecturing does to you!

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  7. No need to apologise for verbosity - it was indeed answers I was asking for! Although I get your blog via email, I have no intention of becoming a student at my advanced years and was thinking of a more immediate reply!

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  8. I think the answer I should have really given you is that 'no dig' will allow worm channels, action of plant roots and undisturbed soil life to improve water and air penetration into the soil.It does take many months for these benefits to kick in but I do believe it is the way forward on clay.

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    Replies
    1. Many thanks. I reckon I could be persuaded. It's a method I have read about and been tempted to try. Certainly couldn't be worse than what I'm currently doing!

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