Version 6, am 18.10.2006 20:18

ist ein Prinzip der Natürlichen Landwirtschaft und Permakultur, eventuell finden wir einen besseren Namen ?

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Gärtnern ohne zu Graben

Producing {healthy crops|gesunde Ernte} without hard work is possibleEs ist möglich eine gesunde Ernte ohne großen Aufwand zuereichen! No-dig gardening needs no regular digging, {weeding|Jäten}, watering or other such {chores|Hausarbeit} and of course doesn't rely on chemical pesticides or fertilisers.

Why no-dig?

Healthy {soil|Erde} is a living ecosystem comprising organic matter, innumerable bacteria, fungi, insects and worms. These organisms play a vital role in supplying nutrients to plants and keeping them happy is the key to productive healthy plants. Soil organisms like a soil that is moist but not waterlogged, well oxygenated and high in organic matter. Digging damages soil structure and microbial soil life. The idea of a no-dig method is allowing a healthy soil ecosystem to develop over time.

No-dig beds must never be walked upon because this causes compacted soil that has poor water and airflow between particles. Raised beds are best, they give a longer growing season because they heat up earlier in the growing season and remain warm longer and are less susceptible to frost. Also drainage is improved which is good in heavy clay soils. The deep loose soil in raised beds can accommodate vegetable plants at least 2/3 of the normal row spacing. They are more efficient because fertility is concentrated in a small area.

Getting Started

It is much better to plan for a small area that you can fill completely with plants. This way you can use compost and mulching materials more efficiently and avoid bare earth.

If you already have a growing space, you can easily convert it to a no-dig garden simply. Do so by creating raised beds that can be reached from a path and are never walked upon. The easiest way is simply to take the top layer of soil where the path is to be and {pile|aufhäufen} it upon the bed spaces. If soil is compacted or {infested|verseucht} with {weeds|Unkraut} it will be necessary to dig it at this initial phase. Use whatever you can find- wood, stones, bricks or upside down bottles as edges for the beds.

To build beds on top of {lawns|Rasen} or weed infested ground without digging use a layer of thick {cardboard|Karton}, layers of newspaper, or other natural fibres that cut out the light. This will suppress grasses and most weeds and rot down to allow root penetration after a season or so. If there is a lack of soil at your site create raised beds using any available organic material- twigs, leaves, grass cuttings, sawdust, weeds etc. Pile up the materials in thin layers with the {coarsest|gröbsten} at the bottom, adding whatever compost or soil is available on top. Grow {shallow rooted crops|oberflächlich wurzelndes Gemüse} for the first year or so.


Leaving the earth bare exposes it to sun, wind and cold and lets it dry out forming a hard surface crust, and rainfall on bare ground causes compaction of the soil, and the washing out (leaching) of water soluble nutrients. Wherever possible, keep the ground covered at all times preferably by living plants or otherwise by mulches.

The idea of mulches is to fully cover up the earth with a layer of organic materials without leaving gaps. Mulches maintain healthy soil conditions by regulating temperature and keeping the soil moist between rain showers. They also prevent most weed seeds from germinating. By spreading mulches directly on the soil, instead of first converting them to compost, organic materials do double duty - serving as mulch, and as a slow-release of organic fertilizer, soil conditioner and worm food. All plant cuttings and residues should be returned to the earth by applying them as mulch on the soil.

The mulch method is ideal for {perennials|mehrjährige Pflanzen} and annual crops that are grown from {transplants|umgesetzten Pflanzen}. Mulches may have to be removed for direct sowing of seeds. One method that allows direct sowing onto mulched ground is to use seed balls.

No-dig potatoes are great for clearing new ground. Simply place {tubers|Knollen} on the earth beneath thick {weed|Unkraut} suppressing organic mulch. This will break down during the growing season and be dug in as the potatoes are harvested.

Mixed Cropping

There are many reasons to get away from growing vegetables in rows with bare earth in between. There will inevitably be more problems with pests and disease among plants grouped together because signals that attract insects to their food are stronger and disease pathogens will spread easier. Mixing plants throughout the garden makes it harder for pests and diseases to spread.

Mixing plants is an optimum use of space, including vertical space, some plants grow well in shade, and others are climbers. Also consider root depths, different plants take water and nutrients from different depths in the soil.

One technique for maintaining permanent cover is called over-sowing, sowing one crop before the harvesting of the existing crop. The greatest productivity comes by optimizing use of time as well as space. Quick growing crops like peas, radishes, turnips, rocket, spring onions, lettuce and other salads can be used as "catch crops” to fill up any spaces.

By using mixed cropping throughout it is not necessary to practice strict crop rotation because soil borne pests diseases of certain crops will not have built up in any one particular area. Don’t be shy about packing the space, ideally leaves of mature plants should be touching.

Remember the greater the diversity and variety of plants in your garden the greater will be the number of beneficial organisms that keep a check on the populations of pests.

When mixing plants always include: Companion plants that are grown especially to deter insect pests and attract beneficial insects, see our page on companion planting. Green manure plants that are grown to improve and maintain the soil fertility. see our page on green manures.

What’s easy to grow? The easiest crops to grow are:

...And for the hardiest and easiest to grow edible plants of all see our section on "GuerrillaPflanzen