I’ve read the book and watched the videos and I’m a convert to the idea.  I’m still sceptical about the practical application, in two areas.

  1. My ability to source sufficient compost for the initial 6″ mulch
  2. The ability of cardboard and mulch to halt couch grass and bindweed roots

The only way to see if it works for me is to give it a go.  This part of the plot doesn’t have any paths, so I’ve experimented with different top dressings as they became available.

Mushroom compost – I applied a generous layer to dug soil.  A week later, I planted out broad beans and two weeks after that, they looked like this, leaves yellowing and then shrivelling to brown.  I rescued the healthiest survivors by placing in bottomless pots with multi-purpose compost.  I’ve since put some swede seedlings in the area and the leaves are yellowing.  I wonder if the soil is now too alkaline.  No more mushroom compost for plot 48, I’ll stick with manure.

I’ve also covered a narrowish area 10×4 with a straw/manure mix.  I plan to put the squash and courgette there.  After that, another thin strip of dug soil topped with home-made compost.

At that point, the lack of rain stopped digging.  That’s when it occurred to me to not dig!  I had an almost full bulk bag of freecycle compost and top soil and I sourced cardboard from local shops.  Given the lack of rain, I damped down the cardboard before topping up with the soil/compost mix.  The no-dig patch is about 10×5 BUT the soil is only 3″ deep rather than the recommended 6″.  The hand fork is the depth measure.  I refer you back to concern number one.