How To: Start a No-Dig Garden ... Step by Step

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A few weeks ago we blogged an article in the LA Times about No-Dig Gardens. They require less water than traditional gardens and they're an easy way to start a raised bed. You can even start one right over a patch of grass you want to get rid of.

Our friend and coworker, Hulda Nelson, tipped us off to the article. Then, last week she started her own no-dig garden and helped us out with some step by step directions.To get a no-dig garden like Hulda's you'll need:


  • A plot of land that is about 2.5 x 20 ft.

  • Newspaper

  • 1 bale alfalfa hay

  • 1 bale straw

  • 15 lbs. bone meal

  • 15 lbs. blood meal

  • 7 bags compost

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Step 1: If necessary, level the area you plan to use for your bed. Then lay down newspaper, 10 to 20 layers thick (it will inhibit weed growth) and wet it.

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Step 2: Put down a light layer of blood meal and bone meal -- wet again.

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Step 3: Put down a layer of alfalfa, top with another light layer of bone and blood meal -- wet again.

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Step 4: Put down a layer of straw, top with another light layer of bone and blood meal -- aaaand wet again.

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Step 5: Now .. you're almost there. Top with your organic compost (2-4 inches thick). Wet. And you're ready to plant.

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