30th November 2017 at 11:15 am #43634
I am starting no dig at my allotment that I’ve had for a year. Last year, before discovering no dig, I did a lot of digging. A small area had poor soil, clay, rubble, and glass. Having dug the area I sowed seeds of beans, carrots and potatoes. In comparison to all the other beds where I grew the same veg, the performance was poor.
I have created two beds, on this area, having cleared it of the rubble, with nothing but freshly dropped leaves. They are about 9″ deep. I can leave them to become leaf mould but I have home made compost and access to composted manure. To utilize the beds this year, is there anything I can grow?30th November 2017 at 5:31 pm #43642
I would have spread the compost and composted manure Gerry, and left the leaves in a pile to moulder.
I wonder if they will cause slugs, you may struggle to grow salads, spinach etc.
On the pother hand, plant squash, courgette, potatoes, leeks when it is time.30th November 2017 at 10:38 pm #43648
Thanks Charles. I have been collecting leaves manically since they started falling. I’ve created two pallet compost bins full of leaves for leaf mould.
I have also begun option 1 using black polythene on beds that have bind weed, horse tail, buttercup and nettles. I have used 3” of leaves under the polythene as a mulch.
I have created 9 beds using home made compost, leaf mould, manure and mushroom compost. I only have limited home made compost left and the manure that is left is composted but not well composted.
For that reason I decided to make the leaf beds. Originally I thought I’d leave them for a year to make mould and then I wondered if I could grow in them anyway. I will try your suggestions. Thanks again.1st December 2017 at 8:09 am #43651
Once again, I’ll refer to Patrick Dolan of One Yard Revolution on Youtube. He mulches his beds with a thick layer of leaves, up to 9 cm., in autumn and grows basically anything the coming year. He, of course, does have excellent soil underneath all the leaves. But, this year, after seeing a video by another Youtuber, I am Organic Gardening, I sowed many veg in trays on top of leaves that I covered with a thin layer of compost (composted material) – I always get so confused with this British thing about calling soil compost as well! And things grew extremely well. I’m of course not trying to contradict Charles here about that it would have been a good idea to spread manure and compost, just trying to say that I’d be confident that one can grow most things in the leaves coming season.1st December 2017 at 8:41 am #43654
Thanks Hawfinch. I’ll check it out on YouTube.1st December 2017 at 8:56 am #43655
Hawfinch, Patrick is great.
However he is continental USA, drier climate and bitter winters, fewer slugs.
This forum is based around a maritime climate where slugs accumulate under mulches such as leaves.
Gerry John has not said where he is from, perhaps it is continental USA in which case no worries!
Check the thread ‘Sheep wool as mulch’, where Oisin Kenny from Galway is struggling with slugs from wood chip mulches. Yet so often one sees wood chip mulches recommended, with never a mention of slugs.1st December 2017 at 9:55 am #43658
Hi Charles, I’m from Stockport nr Manchester where we get lots of rain. Sadly we have slugs all over the place. Having watched your videos and read your books, I’m aware of the issue with slugs and wood lice with the leaves, wood chippings, under black polythene and wooden sides of beds.
As this is my first year of going to no dig I have used wooden sides for my beds with compost in but I will remove them at the end of the year.
I cant afford to create beds with 6-8 inches of compost over the whole plot in this first year.
I will therefore be forced to acquire cheap beer, and what I don’t drink will be used in slug traps. Methinks a lot of beer will be needed………. for the traps as well!1st December 2017 at 10:00 am #43659
As I typed, an idea came to me. Wild flowers do not require nutrient rich soil, could I sow wild flower seed on/in the leaves to create two beds to encourage and feed pollinators?1st December 2017 at 11:06 am #43661
Hi Charles, my main point was that I believe one can grow most veg in the leaves come spring. But I also agree with you about the slugs, they do like to hide under leaves and wood chips. One thing Patrick does mention in his videos is that they used to have lots of slugs, he believes that years’ of using wood chips has created so much habitat for predators, ground beetles etc., that they don’t really have any these days. But if people do have many, yes, it probably is best to keep the ground clear.1st December 2017 at 7:35 pm #43678
Your slugs will not have a discerning palate, so you may be able to “collect” slops from your local pub. I understand that you need only to provide a flavoursome solution, sugary will do. Also a concoction of stale bread and brown sugar soup, but discard when stinky!They will die ,smiling!2nd December 2017 at 9:45 am #43693
Thanks Hawfinch and Cleansweep4th December 2017 at 9:45 am #43728
Hi Gerry, I am 10 miles south of you and I started no dig beginning of this year. I was creating 4 foot beds on a full size allotment with composted green manure free from local authority collected by car and trailer. At the end I was short of about 2 yards of material and used newly fallen leaves to make up the bed covered by 1 inch of shop bought compost. The leaves were pure horse chestnut. Everything I planted in this section died. I then discovered horse chestnut leaves are alellopathic – that is they contain a chemical that prevents the growth of other plants. Black walnut leaves are the same. So you must be careful which uncomposted leaves you use5th December 2017 at 9:02 am #43749
Thanks Allan, I didn’t know that about horse chestnut. Am fairly certain most are sycamore and beech but there may be horse chestnut. Was the bed okay this year?5th December 2017 at 9:10 am #43751
Allan, where did you get the compost, we have to pay for recycled green waste in Stockport and Manchester5th December 2017 at 5:17 pm #43756
I tried something similar with leaves last autumn,I spread a 6″/8″ layer of leaves on a bed about 4 foot by 12,then covered with 3″ of rotted horse manure.
In spring of this year, I tried to plant my module sown climbing peas in the bed.It was impossible to do,under the composted manure was an impenetrable bed of solid leaves (they were maple/sycamore).There had been no composting whatsoever,I scraped the lot off and filled one of my compost bins.I did have a good crop of peas though totally weed free and now have some nice compost (I did turn and add to it through the season.)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.