Starting a no dig garden on former grazing pasture


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This topic contains 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Cleansweep 4 months ago.

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  • #46708

    vivienz
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    We have bought a small field next to our property that has previously (as long as anyone can remember) been used for grazing cattle. There are few weeds, it’s mostly covered in various grasses.

    As our soil is very heavy clay (the sort you can make pots from or line a pond with), no-dig is the obvious way to go. The field hasn’t been grazed this year and so the grass is pretty high. Should I mow this before laying down cardboard and covering with compost? If I do mow it, should I leave the mowings there or take them away before building up the other layers?

    Once the compost is down, how long should I wait before planting into the compost, or can I do this straight away? In my eagerness to get started, I have plenty of module grown plants that could go out by the time the beds are done, with more to follow.

    I will be mowing/strimming pathways around the beds initially, but eventually I will probably cover these with wood chippings.

    #46785

    Cleansweep
    Participant

    Hi, I will share with you part of my post to jensplot
    ” You could then directly plant out some plants this year. Certainly curcubits, beans, peas, chard, beet, and anything you have as plants. If you prefer not to eat salads grown in close proximity(that is, on) the manure, then you could blind the manure with some soil or MP compost just on that area. I converted part of a pasture field this way and planted out strait away with good results. In my experience, little actually goes wrong, despite random warnings of doom from others! No doubt they speak in good faith?”
    Good luck with your pasture, the only unresolved issue that I found was a active population of wireworm and a goodly number of leatherjackets. I am told that although the population has a 4 year development cycle, that the numbers will reduce as the ground is cultivated. Carrot traps have accounted for some. A work in progress..

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    #46798

    Cleansweep
    Participant

    Further to my post, I had intended to attach photos as a ‘before’ & ‘after sequence.
    Attached below the ‘befores’,taken 20/03/2016.The first bed I dug. Its London clay and it nearly killed me! Realising there’s got to be a better way, I found Charles! The second here is the raw material. Background is a load of “topsoil”, plus bricks, stones, subsoil clay, all used in one way or another.
    In the above post is a corner in year2, 2017

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    #46823

    vivienz
    Participant

    Now there’s a familiar sight!

    Thanks, cleansweep. I guess I shall get the strimmer out and then pile everything on top then plant into this. By far the biggest problem, I suspect, will be deer, rabbits and all the other wildlife that is around in the area.

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    #46890

    Cleansweep
    Participant

    Vivien,
    First job then should be fencing! My photo showed my first day. 8ft posts,stock fencing, 3 strands of plain wire (no barbed by request) has , so far , kept out the resident pigs, cattle and roe deer. A solitary rabbit was happy to reduce the winter carrot crop by eating the top 1″ of a whole row.Sworn, not shot at, seems to have prevented a return !

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