Easy No Till Garden


A few summers ago at our previous home, we started an easy, no-till garden so we could enjoy our own fresh vegetables.
It was very easy to create and we had a lot of fun putting it together. 

If you have limited space, or want to grow vegetables without all the time and effort involved with tilling, then this is the garden for you!


Here’s how to create your own no-till garden in easy to follow steps:

1) Start off by marking out the area for your garden. We used a small area on the edge of our perennial garden and we built the new garden right over the existing grass.

2) Remove the packing tape, break apart, and lay down non-waxed cardboard so that the ends overlap.
Make sure any holes or strips in the cardboard are covered with smaller pieces of cardboard to prevent weeds and grass from growing through. 

3) Next, shovel about one inch of screened topsoil onto the cardboard . 

4) Shovel about two to three inches of compost onto the topsoil. 

5) On top of the compost place about four inches of mulch.  Straw works best, which is what we used, but shredded paper or leaves can also be used.  Avoid using hay. 

6) Now it’s ready for planting.  We planted our seedlings before we put the straw down, but you can put your plants in afterwards by parting the mulch.

We started off our new garden with tomatoes, peppers and red-leaf lettuce, and the next year we planted a variety of tomatoes, green and yellow beans, carrots, beets, and green onions.  We also planted zucchini, butternut squash, and cucumbers among our perennials and we started another smaller garden (which we were using for roses that kept failing) where we planted more tomatoes, lettuce, and swiss chard. 


This is a very easy way to garden and nature is doing most of the work.  The grass and weeds breakdown into the soil under the cardboard, the mulch retains moisture, prevents weed growth and turns to compost, and the earthworms till the soil.  By the following spring the cardboard will have dissolved into the soil leaving a wonderfully fertile and weed-free garden.

It’s amazing how large of a yield we are able to produce in such small areas.
What a great way to enjoy fresh vegetables that haven’t been sprayed or treated with any chemicals and have grown in healthy natural soil.

By growing our own vegetables we are able to cut down on our food bill, reduce our carbon footprint on the planet, and get plenty of fresh air and exercise having fun in our garden!

By the way, we also plant dill weed close to our tomatoes.  The dill weed attracts a little wasp that hatches their eggs on any horned caterpillars that get on the tomato plants.  When the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the caterpillar.  It’s nature doing her remarkable and wonderful thing! 

Have fun and bon-appetit!


Author: Joanne Jackson, CHN

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