A Recipe for a No-Dig Garden

No-dig garden beds have been around for a few decades, and are a great way to start a new garden bed. It can be used for large raised garden beds, or just new spaces in your yard. They can be used to grow everything from seedlings like herbs and vegies, to trees and shrubs, even flowers. 

The basics for all no dig garden beds are the same. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Newspaper
  • Blood and Bone – or similar organic, high nitrogen fertiliser
  • Rotting manure – cow/sheep/goat or alpacca are ideal – try to avoid horse as it often contains weeds
  • High carbon material – this will include leaf litter, straw/sugar cane mulch, autumn leaves and
    DRY grass clippings (usually brown)
  • Compost – nice rich source of humus


  1. Prepare the site by slashing weeds and grass as low as possible.
  2. Lightly dust the area in blood and bone and water.
  3. Cover the area in layers of newspaper (at least 6 layers thick) and overlapping sheets – this will prevent weeds and grass from growing up into your garden, so be thorough!


Now you build the layers of the garden on top of this. Overtime your garden will compost down and lower in height – so don’t worry if your garden seems super tall to begin with. The garden will compost down by at least half in the first 6-9months, so if you want the new garden to be 30cm deep – make sure to make at least 60cm deep to start.

Layer in the following order:

  1. 10cm of high carbon material
  2. Light dusting of Blood and Bone
  3. 5cm of rotted manure
  4. 5cm of compost
  5. Water all layers well.

Repeat the layering at least twice. Continue to repeat the layers until the desired height is reached. It’s best to finish with the top layer of high carbon material, or substitute this last layer with mulch, as this will act as insulation and keeps weeds at bay.

Ideally allow this to settle for a few weeks before planting, but if you cant wait to get started, then just hollow out some holes and fill with the compost material to plant straight away.


  • No digging
  • Fewer weeds
  • Higher yields
  • Healthier plants
  • Better quality produce
  • Less watering
  • Increased soil fertility
1 Comment
  • Jordan
    Posted at 13:59h, 05 April Reply

    Method is much neater in the form of a raised garden bed. If you want your backyard a little less neat looking look at getting a delivery of soil in bulk and get a wheelbarrow and shovel and D.I.Y!

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