How to Prep a New Garden and Make Healthy Soil With Zero Digging

Love to garden, but don't care for the back-breaking work that often goes along with it? The good news is, all that digging and tilling you thought you had to do every season is totally unnecessary.

So put down that shovel and start making healthy soil the lazy way by building a no-dig garden bed. This low-effort, no-till method yields healthier plants and fewer weeds, and your back will thank you for it.

Materials needed:

– Newspapers – Organic fertilizer (I      used blood meal      and bone meal) – Alfalfa (also called      lucerne hay) – Straw (make sure      it’s weed- and      pesticide-free) – Finished compost


I started with about 10 sheets of newspaper layered in the bottom of the tub. In my case, they were less for weed suppression, and more for adding brown matter and providing food for the worms that will make their home in the tub.


Next came a generous dusting of fertilizer—I went with a combination of blood meal and bone meal, but chicken manure, rabbit manure, or any high-nitrogen organic fertilizer would work.


Then came the alfalfa. Alfalfa (also called lucerne hay) is the same stuff used as horse feed. On top of the alfalfa, I added a thick layer of straw (about 12 inches, or double my alfalfa layer).


Following the straw was another generous dusting of blood meal and bone meal, and another soak with the hose.


Finally, the topmost layer was a healthy addition of compost (about 3 to 6 inches). Whatever you use, it should be well rotted and teeming with microbes. This is the layer you’ll be seeding and planting in, so don’t skimp on the compost. Wet it down, and you’re ready to plant!

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