No dig garden

Hello. I am following the no-dig gardening thing on many you tube channels.
I would appreciate any ideas about getting mature chemical free mulch to start things off. Maybe well rotted manure? I need quite a lot to get started. I am making my own compost but that will not be enough - thanks in advance.

It isn’t “mature” and won’t give you an immediate fix, but I bag up all our autumn leaves. One of the best ways I find to gather them up is to mow over them and collect them in the grass box, then I have a nice grass/cut dry leaf mix which I put into huge bin bags and then leave them in a corner in the garden until spring where they get used as mulch pretty much everywhere.
Just ordinary grass cuttings - again not mature - are well worth piling up somewhere to rot down
Well rotted manure can be quite concentrated. Good to mix in with grass/leaves.
Anyone around you with a smallholding with sheep? They may have more manure than they know what to do with.
Depends what you want your mulch for - if it is to suppress weeds and create a weed-free patch then something like cardboard or old carpet can do the trick.

Given that (most) farm animals are injected/treated with various chemicals/antibiotics etc. I’m not sure if their manure would be 100% chemical-free. I would be worried about this, especially if any chemical residue in their manure is water-soluble (see below)
If you are using a base of cardboard, as many no-dig gardeners do, try get cardboard that is as ‘raw’ as possible, i.e. free from adhesives, printers ink, wax treatments, etc. as they will eventually end up in your soil. If they are water soluble they may well be carried into your plants as they take water from the soil.
My preference was to remove all stubborn or perennial weeds by hand, then mow as tight as possible and then start with about 6" -9" of compost (I buy it in bulk bags that are ‘craned’ over my hedge into the garden). That got me started and killed off the grass underneath. Then I top-dress with 2"-3" fresh compost every year before new plantings. You can start small and grow your area every year . . . .

Our local waste company used to compost all the green waste and then allow anyone to come and take it. In Spring it was the countryside equivalent of a sale at Harrods, with people jostling to get their trailers in to fill up for their veg gardens. Sadly no more and they now sell it for the same price as commercial compost. But still worth seeing what your waste company might offer as they may have something.

However instead we have found a “platforme de compostage” not that far away. They take green waste, compost it and mix it with cow slurry (dual enterprise business, as the cows are theirs too). They also do shreddings. Do a search on all the likely words for your postcode and maybe somethimg.

We fill our car with 250kg of compost for €12.50. You have to bag it yourself for that price. They also make ice cream, so that’s an extra €2.50…

Cow not horse, but seems to suit the veg ok and the cows are bio. Local stables are also a potential source.

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Thanks Sue - I have loads of leaves in the autumn

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Thanks Mike ; I will definitely look for bulk bags of compost. I have put a membrane down and will leave it for a couple of months to try and kill the grass.

This is great advice Jane thanks. I will be doing some garden googling for compost right away!

Cowpats are much loved by pumpkins to grow in.

Oh lots of cowpats where I am in Finistere!

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Do you know anyone that keeps rabbits? The bedding will make compost but the droppings can be used direct on the soil or mixed with it, as a slow-release fertiliser- they don’t need to rot down. (You could always offer to muck out the hutches…!)

A lot of people round here have rabbits - for dinner rather than as a pet. And they also have their veg plots too, so not sure they woukd part with it!

If you have a dog they won’t stay there long! For ours they are a nice snack between meals. :grinning:

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Hi Sue
Granted, although we had to move the cat’s litter tray upstairs where our pooch couldn’t get at it, to prevent him having ‘takeaway’ between meals!:face_with_hand_over_mouth:

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