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

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Hulda Nelson)

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. Another easy gardening option is bringing the garden inside with grass you can grow indoors.

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

(Image credit: Courtesy of Hulda Nelson)

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.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Hulda Nelson)

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

(Image credit: Courtesy of Hulda Nelson)

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

(Image credit: Courtesy of Hulda Nelson)

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

(Image credit: Courtesy of Hulda Nelson)

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

(Image credit: Courtesy of Hulda Nelson)