No Dig Gardening: How to Make a No Dig Garden Bed

The no dig gardening method is the approach we take on our farm to ensure minimal weeding and high fertility levels for our vegetables. In this video I’ll show you a simple process on how to make a no dig garden bed:

1. The first step is to clear the entire area where you want to create your no dig garden beds.

Although not an absolute necessity, in this step it’s preferable you remove the root systems from any persistent perennial weeds (like brambles) and mow the entire area.

2. In the second step you’ll need to lay out the ‘frame’ of your no dig beds.

Once you’ve cleared out the area you want to use for the garden beds, it’s time to lay out the ‘frame’ to help visualize where they come. I like to use a small measure tape, some pegs and a little bit of twine for this purpose. See: 01:24.

3. In the third step it’s time to lay down the first layer of light depriving material.

After creating the visual reference of where your growing beds are coming, it’s time to lay down the first light depriving barrier directly on top of the weeds: cardboard. This cardboard layer is going to help killing the existing vegetation below it by depriving them from sunlight. Make sure to include enough overlap on the sheets of cardboard. This sheet mulching technique is a great way to help you create weed free garden beds pretty much instantly. See: 04:00.

4. In the fourth step it’s time to create your no dig garden beds and pathways.

Directly on top of the cardboard you can create your no dig garden beds by applying a layer of weed free compost. The minimum thickness of this compost layer should at least be 10 centimeters (4 inches), but preferably 15 centimeters (6 inches). After applying the compost you’ll need to tamp it down and compact it. You can do this by either walking on the beds, with the back of a shovel or in our case, since we run a commercial scale market garden, a bed roller. See: 07:34.

After creating the beds it’s time to create the pathways. In our case we use woodchips (we have a local free source), but you can also use a little bit of compost for the pathways to lightly cover it. Generally speaking: an area with lots of slug activity should use compost for the pathways. In regions with fewer slug activity you can use woodchips or similar raw organic material.

And just in case you were wondering about the widths of our no dig garden beds and pathways:
Beds: 75 centimeter (30 inch)
Pathways: 45 centimeter (18 inch)

That’s the simple, yet effective no dig gardening approach to turn your lawn (or a weedy patch) into a thriving and fertile vegetable garden instantly.

If you want to learn more and for more detailed explanations and great tutorials on no dig gardening I highly recommend you check out the godfather of the no dig method @Charles Dowding’s channel.

Check out some of these other videos as well:

Convert Your Lawn into a Profitable Vegetable Farm:

How to Start a Farm From Scratch:

Market Garden Tools:

Top 7 Tips for Small Farm Success:

Is Market Gardening Profitable?:

If you want to learn more about starting a farm, download our free eBook that shows you the steps we’ve taken in our journey to farming full time:


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