No dig bed prep is simply a light rake before sowing

March 2022 mega – no dig and timings, bed prep, new trays, new bargain bundle, varied germination, compost and compost confusions

The second half of March sees much more sowing, planting, raking and weeding outside, than at any time since late summer. I’m sorry though that you may be reading this with snow on the ground in some climates, and you need fantastic patience! See my video tour of Homeacres in early spring for a feel of the season here.

I make most sowings undercover because it’s more reliable so there is less wastage of seed, and growth is more rapid. Also for brassicas there is less damage from flea beetles, which are quite a pest on young brassica leaves in the spring. Or cover sowings with fine mesh covers. More details are on my Timeline for sowing, which includes downloads for the southern hemisphere and for northern Scotland.

For those of us in temperate climates, the outdoor sowings we can make from mod March are carrots, parsnips, onions, spring onions, radish, lettuce, spinach, onion sets, peas, broad beans, coriander, dill and parsley.

Wait until April before sowing leeks and chard, to reduce the risk of bolting in summer. Keep up to date with my Calendar which is also in digital, and we sell a Wallchart of monthly sowings.

No Dig

Here is a recap of no dig as I practice it in the UK, and recommend for most climates. 

1 Practice no soil disturbance: no digging, no forking. Soil does not need us to loosen it, thanks to soil life maintaining its structure and aeration.

2 Sometimes we need to hoe or rake the surface, for levelling and weed control. Sometimes we use a trowel to make holes for planting, or a spade for planting trees, or to remove stems of woody weeds.

3 Feed soil life with organic matter on the surface. For vegetables, compost is the mulch (surface material) of choice.

4 Control weeds by easy and regular pulling, or light hoeing if a lot are appearing. Any use of cardboard is only when starting out on weedy areas.

5 Control slugs through minimum habitat, including tidy plants such as cabbage below: also no dig means good soil ecology, such as ground beetles eating slugs and their eggs

You can learn in depth about no dig in my online course and book, also here on the website in this Beginners Guide for more on setting up the space, smothering weeds etc.

 

 

Q “Couch grass still there 6 years later”

From the questions I receive, the key papparently missed are:

1 Mulch pathways as well as beds, in particular if you have no wooden sides (recommended!).

2 Keep removing any new blades of couch grass, sometimes using a trowel to lever out the new, white root. You will not however extricate the main root, which is deeper down

You can use cardboard initially, on thick path weeds. When starting out with a weedy plot, paths need to be mulched/cleaned in the same way as beds, so that the grass cannot spread back into beds. 

I always succeed in eliminating couch grass within one year. But that first year must be thorough and year one requires more time to keep removing regrowth, including from paths and edges too.

Videos, and Cameo

For more about types of compost, see How to Start a No Dig Bed and Compost Differences. I love working with Alessandro Vitale, who is my main videographer now, he is also known as Spicy Moustache. He’s so enthusiastic about no dig, growing vegetables, and is keen to learn all the time. His own work of video production is enjoying a huge success on Instagram, and soon I feel on You Tube. His main effort just now is on reels, and we collaborate on a few such as swede rolls!

Today 10th March we filmed a lot for a video about cover cropping/green manures which have grown through winter on my trial beds. We harvested all of them today and it was fascinating to weigh the results, all will be revealed in the video releasing around the end of March.

Module trays- NEW!!

They have been a long time in the pipeline and finally, we can sell the new smaller trays which are CD 60 offspring. Same design but smaller. The 30 is half size and the 15 is quarter size, see Containerwise website.

I’m sorry it’s taken so long and I thought they would be released in January, but I am not the production expert and a few delays along the way were enough to push things back. Plus Containerwise wanted to be sure that they have sufficient stock so that anyone ordering will receive trays in reasonable time. To buy in the US see this site, and see my Links page for other resellers.

Compost for propagation

If you are buying such compost, I hope you have found one that is giving reasonable results. I’ve not heard of so many problems this year as I did last year so that’s encouraging. I’ve put a photo below to give an idea of what can happen with poor compost.

The poor one is not designed for propagation and this was more of a check on nutrient status, for a friend. There is a lot of wood still present in there, grabbing nutrients, and the main ingredient is one year old food waste. It has been through a Nidal digester cylinder, and it’s smelly – suggesting anaerobic.

Bargain Bundle

I am joining an Off-Grid Sustainable Living Bundle which gives immediate and full access to 40 digital courses, trainings and books, of $2000 approx. value, purchasable for $50. The link goes live on 18th March.

Topics include:

● Organic farming and gardening

● Nomadic living and thriving off-grid

● Online income & crypto

● Legal freedom

● Tiny homes and minimalism

● Sustainable living

● Natural healing

● Prepping & emergency survival

How does it work? On 18th March, I released the link to the Off-Grid Sustainable Living website where you can purchase the bundle. The offer lasts for 9 days. You can download it all and then study in your own time.
My part of the 40 is the Skills online course, No Dig Course Book, and Calendar.

Germination mysteries

So why did those seeds not come up? Even after four decades this happens more than I feel it should, sometimes a mystery, but it is more common at this time of year when conditions are cool. Here are possible reasons why some of our seedlings have not made it: 

1 Lack of warmth over a 24 hour period; even if days are warm, cool nights prevent germination, particularly of warmth loving plants. 

2 The seed was old when purchased, not that you could know because the seed packet tells you only the date it went in the packet!! You may have recently bought two year old seed, believing it to be fresh from last year.

3 The compost was too wet and ant tiny new roots have rotted. This is a reason for adding perlite, vermiculite or sand to compost when sowing very small seeds. 

4 The issue is not a ‘surplus of nutrients’ as is sometimes claimed. Seeds germinate and seedlings grow in high nutrient compost. See photo below where the worst seedling growth is in nutrient-poor compost.

Leggy Seedlings

Tall seedlings are not a natural occurrence and are best prevented, because long stems are mostly thin and fragile, making seedlings weak. The main way to avoid long stems is by growing seedlings in full light.

Depending where you have most warmth, you may be germinating seeds for 4-7 days in darkness. After this top priority warmth during the first week or so, full light becomes top priority. 

If you don’t have an outdoor space which gives full light, it may be worth investing in grow lights to use in your house.

You can reduce legginess by pricking out and transplanting leggy seedlings with a fair amount of stem below ground. This gives stability to the leaves above, especially when they are wet and heavy. To avoid it happening next year or later on, make sure you have the facilities for giving full light to seedlings, and if not then I recommend to sow a little later. See below for more about the hotbed.

Sowing direct

This of course is the ultimate way to avoid leggy seedlings, because they have full light outside. We took the photos below to give you an idea of how I make drills in the surface compost. In this case it was a demo only, using old carrot seeds! I shall sow carrots after the equinox.

Compost Confusion

WHICH ONE?

I had this question on FB and I receive so many like it:

“So this year I have only put well rotted manure on the legume bed because I’ve been told that roots and brassicas aren’t a fan of it, is this true?”

So many people are misled, by those who don’t know and make nonsense statements like this. All of my long experience shows this to be untrue – gah, it’s misinformation!!

Well rotted manure is compost. Compost is good for all soil organisms and its them who enable growth and maintain soil structure and health.

  • So it’s simple, use any decomposed matter to feed your soil life, whether you are growing cabbage, beans or potatoes. See below as well.

HOT?

On the same thread, someone else put this comment:

Horse and cow manure is called hot, but rabbit and chicken is called cold

Written as though it’s an accepted fact – but it’s wrong! Again anyone reading it will be confused and misinformed!!

Hot can mean literally hot, and also that the process of decomposition absorbs nutrition from the soil and away from plants, which is called “burning the roots”. Fresh manure may also release  some free nitrogen, depending on the bedding. Bedding is an elephant in the room because it’s rarely mentioned, and some people assume that manure is simply the faeces.

  • There are so many variations but generally it’s safest to use compost and animal manures after they are minimum six months old. Preferably you spread compost after heat has subsided

See my compost explanations and examples in the Start No Dig video.

The photos show variations in bed surface from using different composts, and how to deal with that.

Sticky manure

If you can spread it 4-8 weeks before you need to plant, life is easier. The sticky lumps fall apart as air enters, and eventually the surface is soft, fibrous and moisture retentive. Without large lumps in the way of planting, or offering habitat for slugs.

The best time to spread older but sticky manure is before Christmas. Frost during winter helps to open the lumps through freeze and thaw.

In the two beds below, I shall grow potatoes where the cover is cow manure. It’s too lumpy to sow carrots for example.

Hotbed, maintaining heat

The hotbed is a compost heap, evolving all the time. For best results it can be filled and maintained in various ways, although there are so many variables that it’s barely possible to have precise amounts of heat over long periods. 

My problem previously has been excessive heat in the first week, and ammonia gases from the rapid decomposition, and a fast drop in level.

This year I tried stamping more on the manure to squash more in, and applying extra water to slow it down a little. This worked too well, even by making it a little anaerobic, despite the straw bedding. Heat never exceeded 46C (rather than the 60C of previous years) and within two weeks was 34C and falling. 

That’s a little cool for the way I use it which is to speed germination and early growth, during no more than two weeks or so for any batch of seedlings as we make new sowings: after two weeks of full warmth, trays go onto a pallet/bench in the greenhouse. Then by April there will be warmth loving plants such as aubergines, which stay on the hotbed for longer. It’s a key part of my propagation process for all early plant raising.

After the stop in heat, we did two things to increase it on 1st March, twelve days after creating the heap. I scooped off the top 15cm/6in of manure and put it in a wheelbarrow, then used a crowbar and fence-post to make a hole in the middle. Into that I banged in a drain pipe which stayed in place while I was applying fresh manure, which Adam had fetched from the nearby stables. Two barrows of very fresh horse manure with straw bedding, spread on top with a little water to wet any dry straw. 

Onto that fresh manure, I forked from the other wheelbarrow from the previous top layer, and spread it back on top. This serves as a wet blanket to slow release of ammonia and prevent singeing of vegetable leaves above the heat. I also make sure there is some ventilation all the time in the greenhouse, to dilute ammonia in the air.

With the heap full and now 30cm/12in higher, I levelled it, then pulled out the drain pipe and replaced the pallet and all the trays. I was delighted to see the heat rise steadily. On successive days it was 26 then 36 then 44 then 54 constant for a few days. Tiny seedlings grew faster.

*My temperature measure is a probe sitting under the pallets, 15 cm below the surface of the horse manure, very close to the top. The temperature in module root balls will be closer to 25 or 30 C. 

Woodchip

This material was scarcely available when I started gardening, and now it’s becoming quite a mainstay. We made a video about the many ways to use it and store it, even improve it.

What do we burn it a little is to make biochar/charcoal, and the photo shows how much comes from one burn, which has a very clean flame. We plan to release a video on how that works at the end of March. Before that I shall publish a video about woodchip itself. All the amazing things you can do with it, and ways to compost and use it.

Making compost

There are many ways to make compost. We add everything including roots of perennial weeds, and diseased materials.

1 Here I do mainly hot composting, by adding sufficient material to have a hot heap with faster breakdown, and no weed seeds. In winter the heaps are cool, from lack of new green material. 

2 One turn after 3-4 months sees compost ready from 5 months in summer, longer in winter.

Warm composting in the pallet heaps. Temperatures rarely above 45C and this favours worms, with excellent compost within 6 months, and one turn after after 3-4 months.

3 Worm composting – I bought 4kg and we shall see! 

The pond

The water level has been going up and down! 

Up after it rains, thanks to the pipe which Jack installed from the ditch he dug out, 21m away and slightly higher in ground level. Then down as well. The loss of water must be from a leak in the clay, because this pond has no liner.

In early February the level was so low that Adam could get in there and he spent a few hours walking on the clay and squishing it up the sides, hoping to squash it enough to seal any gaps. However it still leaks! 

So I bought some bentonite clay which is super fine, as suggested on You Tube comments, thankyou. Adam mixed it with a little water then threw it into the pond, left and right and middle.

After 8mm rain, the level declined less! But now it’s very dry again, and the level is going low.

57 thoughts on “March 2022 mega – no dig and timings, bed prep, new trays, new bargain bundle, varied germination, compost and compost confusions

  1. Hi Charles,
    Bought ALL your courses and books and getting so much from them, thanks!
    Got a few questions about Compost please.
    I bought some mushroom compost from Woodland Horticulture that you recommended and when it arrived they were complete lumps of dung and very obvious straw that had not deteriorated very much, do you think I can still use it as Compost? I will do the broad bean test with it – btw can I use peas instead of broad beans to do the test?
    I also bought the Corker green compost you recommended and there appears to be quite a lot of wood chip still present in it and it was quite stinky, two things that don’t bold well from what I gather from your teachings? Anyway I hope it’s not going to cause much of a problem in my first year of converting my lawn to veg beds, I’ll keep you posted.
    Lastly have you ever heard of pyralids in Strulch the straw everyone seems to recommending for strawberries? Many thanks in advance.

    1. Hello Cleo,

      Thanks for all those purchases and I’m glad you’re enjoying them. These are interesting questions, and I’m intrigued about the mushroom compost because I recently took delivery of some from Woodland, and it was exactly as normal. Maybe you were expecting something finer but mushroom compost starts lumpy, with straw, and will decompose further in a heap. Yet it can also be used in that state, although with less good results that when it’s a bit older.

      That’s disappointing about the Corker composed and yet sadly it’s also quite a common thing. It could be most useful in pathways and not as the sole ingredient for new beds.

      Strulch is something I never ever recommend because it’s expensive, and contradicts the whole ethos of organic matter feeding soil organisms. It’s treated with something which prevents that! I have not heard of pyralids in it but it’s not impossible and I would never buy it.

  2. Hello Charles. Hope all well.

    The relative ease of the no dig method you’ve been promoting has inspired us to turn about 100m2 of paddock that has been well grazed for years into beds for flowers and vegetables. The grass is mown, the cardboard is down. However I have realised many of them have staples. Is that ok?

    Also, a manure question please… We’ve been lucky to get hold of a load of horse manure (sawdust mix, about a year old) and cow manure (straw mix, about a year old). What is the best way to mix it with the green compost (green as in garden waste, from a supplier) we also have coming this week? Mix it? Layer it? If layering, which should be at the bottom? And what ratio?

    Finally, we could get the green compost mixed with top soil for extra money but I’m not sure this is worth it or even a good idea at any time. I think I’ve read on one of your blogs that there is always more nutrients in compost than topsoil. Is that right?

    We are mostly growing flowers plus some vegetables, by the way.

    Thanks,

    Ben and Fern

    1. Hi both, sounds promising and yes always remove staples first, + any plastic.
      There is always the risk of weed killer in manure and I would sow some broad beans in it before using it, allow four weeks. Just to be sure. Check out my video on pyralid which shows that.

      With compost put the lumpy (manure) down first then finer on top. You’re right you do not need soil and it’s not only the relative lack of nutrients but there are weed seeds and roots, gravel, and general poor quality because merchants want to get rid of any old soil and you’re better off without it!

      1. Thanks. Ok staples out too.

        With the manure the lady said she doesn’t use pesticides but put something on to get rid of buttercups for some reason. She thought it was quite mild stuff. But I guess the bean test will tell us.

        Meanwhile the green compost has arrived and it is very dark. Black I’d say. And it smells quite smoky. Someone has said this isn’t a good sign but I’m not sure why or if that’s true.

  3. Hi Charles,

    Thanks again for all your information – I certainly enjoy reading your skills book despite having completed the course online.

    After many years of veg growing in my back garden, I’ve taken on an allotment. Having grown onions and planted them out, they all died over the last two weeks. I think the weather being hot, combined with fleece and my infrequent visit led to this.

    Is it too late to plant some more seed? Would they still grow but just harvest later or would they be more susceptible to bolting?

    Would you suggest just planting some sets?

    1. So sorry to hear this Charles. Maybe planted too shallow as well. Unlucky – but.. the weather!
      Whatever, I would plant sets.
      Ore resow, for harvest slightly later and smaller, worth it though if you have seed.

  4. Hi Charles, delighted to hear of the availability of the new size module trays so immediately went onto Containerwise web site with object of ordering 5 x 15 trays. However I was disappointed that they wanted £8.99 postage for such a small parcel weighing very little. I did not place the order and suggest they change their postage provider.
    Alan Corbett.

    1. I’m sorry to hear this Alan but shipping costs for small to medium-sized businesses are higher, compared to Amazon who somehow manage free shipping anywhere in the world! They have tried many options.
      Do give them your feedback. They would be delighted to hear of cheaper options.

  5. Can I please reverse Rhys’s earlier question about fleece? – at what minimum temperature can fleece be dispensed with at this time of year?
    I’ve noticed a slight “browning” on a couple of pea plants and we have had little to no rain for the last month and there will be no water supply on the allotment until Saturday. I would like remove the fleece but don’t know what minimum temperatures radish, spinach, peas, salads and beetroot seedlings can tolerate…
    Thanks again for all your inspiration and advice.
    Peter

    1. All of these vegetables tolerate low temperatures, even freezing. However the forecast for next week is colder with wind as well maybe, and in those conditions the fleece makes a big difference. Your plants would survive, the question is more will they thrive.

  6. While I do not have the space in my approx. 6m sq., I found your video on wood chip and Johnson-Su bioreactor fascinating. I do have woodchip between the beds as wells as wood shavings from my wood turning.
    First early potatoes just showing under tunnel cloche.
    My 6 inch high broad beans are not tillering much, should I pinch out the tops to encourage?

  7. Hi Charles, Thanks so much for all the work you do promoting No-Dig. Your online Seed to Harvest course has been invaluable!

    I’ve notice my chard and perpetual spinach both have a substantial Cercospora fungus infection. What is the best thing to do re planting in same space this year? Can I safely plant beet family again? Many thanks for your help, Caitlin

    1. Thank you Caitlin. In my experience with no dig and sol being very healthy, these kinds of diseases are a reflection of weather and not soil. I suspect it’s been wet where you are which encourages this disease. I would remove all infected leaves to the compost heap.
      I would follow with some different vegetable family until next year, to reduce the risk of this disease becoming prominent again. One year is plenty enough time to break the cycle of fungal growth.

  8. Charles

    We are just starting 3 days of weather with sunny days leading to maxima of 19, possibly, even 20C and night time lows of 2-3C.

    Based on your experience of early transplants under fleece, would you say that I need to worry about having carrots, parsnip, turnip, onion and radish under fleece at my allotment during these warm days or will they survive quite happily and indeed thrive?

    Not expecting a scientific answer, more an educated hunch!

    1. ….and will the weight/grade of fleece have an influence on the said hunch??? (I could only get my hands on some inferior 17g/square metre – which in this weather might actually be an advantage!)

    2. Similar story here Rhys and as Peter suggests the thicker fleece could be hot for a while but as long as the seedlings have access to moisture, you should not find it a problem. Difficulties come should the ground be dry under fleece on a hot afternoon.

      1. Thanks, Charles. To be safe, I will go and water everything this afternoon to ensure everything is nice and moist – they all got watered well on Saturday (the onions had the beds properly watered as they were being transplanted that day), so giving them another good water today should see them fine.

  9. Hello,
    A few weeks ago I potted a fig and used wood chip as a mulch. Yesterday, I noticed fungal growth on the surface; ‘rubbery’ and beige in appearance and white with mycelia on the underside. A fruit grower advised me to remove it immediately, which I did. Now I don’t know if it was necessary. Do you know of any fungal growth from wood chip that could be harmful to the plant?

    P.S. Many thanks for your video about wood chip. I have an endless supply that I’ve layered with grass clippings in an 80 cu.ft. pallet compost bin for a year. It was covered in plastic and hardly watered. Is it better to leave the cover off?

    1. Hi Michael
      I think that was bad advice and it’s funny how there is so much worry about fungal growth and mycelia. They were just part of the wood breakdown and nothing to do with healthy new growth.
      I’m not sure whether that cover is helping, the most important thing is moisture in the middle of the heap being present and probably it’s fine, since you put in grass which has so much moisture.

  10. Hi Charles
    I enjoyed your latest video posted on Facebook showing new plantings in your dig /no dig beds. I notice you have planted second early potatoes – is this not a bit early? In other videos you advise planting 3 to 4 weeks before last frosts which I think you get in mid May…..

    Belated best wishes for the new growing season,

    Peter

    1. Thanks Peter and yes you are absolutely right, I should’ve kept my mouth shut! It’s simply to save a bit of time because I wanted to get the whole bed planted up and those potatoes we can treat with exceptional care, including cardboard over them at night for example, which would not be viable in the larger area.

      1. I was considering doing the same in the hope of an earlier harvest – is it worth the bother or do later planted potatoes (mid April say) simply catch up with those planted earlier?

        1. It depends Peter on the occurrence or not of a late frost. If that should happen and you can’t protect it from damage, then it’s a waste of time to plant early. If there is no frost likely, it’s worth getting them in the ground ASAP.

          1. I have raised beds 1m sq and 2.4x1m. I made my own wire hoops, so with purchased plastic each bed has it’s own tunnel cloche, held with bulldog clips. You can do similar with alkathene piping, I just had some 3mm wire which was doubled up and twisted using a cordless drill

  11. Dear charles,
    may I ask you how you manage our Johnson-Su- bioreactor? Do you water it every day? I noticed yours is not round. Do you have any problems or experience at all with the corners?
    Thanks,
    Daniela

    1. Hi Daniela
      See my new Woodchip video!! Releases later today.
      Yes it needs some water, depending how much surface area you have and what you have lined it with. I think it’s a design weakness that the edges try out too much, and another time we shall line it with cardboard, when filling. The corners were fine thanks to pallet wood.

  12. All through the winter, when I walk my dog, I have been collecting, with permission, leaf mould, a carrier bag at a time, from a heap of indefinite age.
    It is well rotted but still recognisable.
    Can leaf mould be too old?

    1. Hi Mary
      Ah no it just becomes humus, all good,
      I admire your thoroughness – many a mickle makes a muckle!

  13. Hi Charles,
    Firstly thanks for all your hard work and info.
    Ive taken on a new allotment this year and would like to work this one no dig as an experiment against my dig allotment.
    However, I fear I’m a bit late on laying cardboard THEN compost in the already raised beds for early straight sowing and transplants (paths are all covered and well mulched). Am I best to just put a thick layer of homemade compost for planting for the spring planting now, and then cardboard, MGW compost and cover for the winter?
    Thanks again
    Lucy

    1. Thanks Lucy and this is good to hear. I have to keep saying this but cardboard is not always necessary and if weeds are only slight, you don’t need it.
      Or if you have enough compost for 4-6on, and weeds are strong, you can lay cardboard and then the compost and then plant on same day.
      At this time of year, wet the cardboard first because it’s turning dry and sunny. Good luck.

  14. I am living in Italy and it was very difficult to get wood chip here (you can only order a full truck, which is a bit much for a small vegetable garden). I have been using ‘nocciolino’ which are the olive pits crushed when making olive oil. Some use them for burning and you can order them in a big bag, so no plastic waste at all. Just a tip from Italy and valid for other olive producing countries!

  15. I created a hot bed a weeks ago to try your method of propagating. I think I may have squashed the manure down too much as two weeks later it still wasn’t heating up. I took the top layer off and mixed with some grass clippings and I t’s slowly gone up a week later to about 25. Is that warm enough or should I try and get it hotter?

    1. Hard to say Ali wish I could help. At this time of year, if you have grass that will certainly stimulate heat so you could try adding more of that!

  16. Hi Charles, that off-grid bundle seems very appealing. Can’t wait for further information. Not sure if I got this right though, does it include your course in a video format or ebook only?

  17. Hello Charles,
    I ordered your CD60s from All About the Garden folks and am looking forward to using them this spring. I’ve been upping my starts so I can share with neighbors, planting out more veg than I need so I can share with same. I have a couple across the street who collect their kitchen waste in galvinized bucket I have for that purpose. Also, there is a big park right across the street and I mow there periodically for extra grass cuttings. Trying to make all my own compost for about 18 4×12 beds. I just saved seeds from a 17 month old pickling cuke that has been on my kitchen table that whole time! Winky the Wonder Cuke!
    Thanks,
    Daniel

  18. Thanks for all your information…I wonder how long it takes for the same yields that you have…I am on my second year of no dig and compost and have yet to achieve that production. Starting from turf, when should I expect the development of soil life that produces high yields? Thanks again.

    1. Hi David
      Perhaps your soil is more sandy or chalky than here. Heavy soils generally have better fertility in the background, and it might be worth adding more compost if you can. Plus there is a whole range of cheap things you can do like I describe in the last module of my Skills course or last chapter in the book.

  19. A very fine blade used in a jigsaw neatly cuts the 60 module trays. The construction is strong enough to remain so after cutting! I had the 60 modules as a Christmas gift. I give away excess seedlings but with 60 of most crops (peas an exception) I would struggle to give away the excess as most folk on our lotti site all grow lots of seedlings. I am also now multi sowing so need even fewer modules.
    I am a dedicated disciple of No Dig- thanks to your shared knowledge -it REALLY works and weeding is a job of the past!😁👍🏼 Well I do still see mares tails occasionally!

    1. Thanks Jean for your lovely feedback.
      I really hope that other people on your allotment site are noticing your lack of weeds. It’s something that puzzles me, how the uptake is not more rapid, considering the amazing results – decrease of work and increase of time for other things. Who would not want that!

      1. Folk love to get their tillers out and plough the sod😬 I get on their nerves telling them those poor worms are being chopped up together with disturbance of all the other life with in the soil AND turning the weed seeds to the top layer! THEN they water the whole area almost daily in the growing season(I rarely have to water more than once a week) and wonder where the weeds come from! As you I just don’t understand. Then there is all that carbon being released! My crops aren’t really any better but are grown with less effort and chemical free!

        1. Thanks Jean and let’s hope for some awakening.
          Problem I think is they are partly ‘asleep’ in their minds, otherwise they would notice.
          Your harvests are healthier, I’m sure of that.

  20. The new module trays are a welcome addition – they will fit easier on the window sill and should fit it in the pannier bags of a cycle.

    That will make it easier to take seedlings down to the allotment!

  21. Hello Charles, I find your articals so fascinating that I have converted my small plot to no dig . I only have six beds with two growing raspberries and gooseberries. This year will be my first attempt to grow some veg using your methods. I will let you know my results later in the year.

  22. Can the ammonia gasses from the hot bed burn the seedlings or is this just an air quality issue? My hot bed also got quite hot – 66.7C – and I had some wilting pea plants and burned leaves. I am unsure if this is simply because of overly high temperatures or ammonia gasses somehow trapped by the drop cloth? Any advice on moderating this issue?

    1. I’m pretty sure John that it’s the ammonia itself, which singes the leaves closest to each tray’s edge where the warm air is escaping, just for a few days after adding fresh manure. I successfully reduced it last time by placing a barrow of two week old manure as the top layer (on top of the fresh) which filtered the gases.

      1. I threw a lot of seaweed on our no dig bed last October after layering with cardboard and Guinea pig dirty wood shavings. I’m chittong potatoes at the moment to go in this month. What do you think?

        1. Hi Sue, that sounds really good for potatoes! The harvest will be delicious and abundant I reckon, and healthy!

  23. Hi Charles,
    I‘m delighted to hear about the new smaller module trays as I only sow small batches at a time and couldn‘t find any small ones that are as sturdy looking as your CD60s. As I‘m following you from the west of Ireland, I hope they‘ll be available here soon. So far, the only Irish supplier for your products I have come across seems to be quickcrop.ie. Maybe you want to add them to your links list for your Irish followers.
    Most importantly, I would like to thank you for sharing your experience in this blog, your youtube videos, books and on the various other channels. The way you are presenting your knowledge is entertaining and informative for the beginner as well as the advanced veg grower. I’ve been growing vegetables for 10 years now in different climates and conditions (starting off with growbags on my balcony in Germany and now I’m in my 6th year of growing in Ireland in raised beds)-no dig since the start even though I only came across one of your videos last year- and there is so much I’ve learned from you! After studying the „veg journal“ and the „vegetable garden diary“ thoroughly I hope that this year I will get my succession sowing right after failing miserably on that matter so far. Also, thanks to you, I‘ve tried multisowing for the first time this year and I‘m awaiting the results excitedly.
    Good luck with your new pond, you wouldn‘t have any problems of keeping it filled where I am as a part of my garden turns into a bog from November till April 😉
    Many thanks again and have a fantastic gardening year,
    Verena

    1. Thank you so much Verena, and I’m delighted to hear that my work is helping you.
      Yes we do not have the same level of rainfall! I hear that you’re about to have another storm and good luck with that, and thanks for reminding me about Quickcrop.

  24. Nice idea with the CD30’s having a larger gap in the middle making it so you can cut them in half and giving people a cheaper way of getting CD15’s as long as you don’t mind having the edges not so perfect along the one side. In some respects with that design i am surprised you offered a separate CD15 tray.

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