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Wollongong City Council

No-Dig Veggie Gardens

Setting up your own veggie garden doesn’t have to be hard, and you can do it without digging!

No-dig gardens are made above ground, and can be built over existing gardens, lawns or hard ground.

We’ve put a short guide to no-dig gardening below. If you need extra help, search online to find plenty of extra resources and advice.

  • A spot to create your garden that gets at least a few hours of full sun every day.
  • A pile of old newspapers, shredded paper or cardboard. Don’t use glossy paper.
  • Nitrogen-rich materials. These could be things like compost, cow or horse manure, lawn clippings and green garden waste.
  • Carbon-rich materials. These could include straw, sugar cane mulch, dried leaves or lawn clippings.
  • Straw or hay.
  • Access to water.

No-dig gardens are all about the layers! Make sure you water each layer before you add the next one.

Check the ‘What you’ll need’ section above for details of what you can use for your nitrogen or carbon-rich layers.

  1. Pick the spot for your garden bed. If it’s currently grass, mow or slash it as short as possible.
  2. Cover the area with wet newspaper, paper or cardboard. If you’re using paper, make the layer about 8-10 sheets thick.
  3. Add a layer of your nitrogen-rich materials.
  4. Add a layer of your carbon rich materials. Make it about 10 times thicker than your nitrogen layer.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until your garden bed is at least 50cm high (you can keep going if you want it higher!)
  6. Cover with a final layer of straw or hay
  7. Get planting – create small pockets in your garden bed and fill them with compost, then add your seedlings or plants. Leafy greens are a good starter plant.
  8. Make sure you keep watering your garden regularly.

Over time, your garden bed will sink down a bit. If you think it’s a bit too low, top it up with more nitrogen and carbon layers.