Gardening Mental Health Mindfulness Self-Care

To dig, or no dig. That is the question.



There is a revolution behind the #NoDig movement and it’s understandable to see why. Fewer weeds, less maintenance, less watering and healthier soil. But what of those who don’t use this method?

It’s a controversial topic and often leads to online bullying within the gardening community. Which isn’t on.

No dig is used by influencers and gardeners alike, so it’s extremely popular. Is it worth the hype?


  • No Dig sounds easier – and it is!
    • Slapping some cardboard down to break down the weeds, topping up with a mix of organic matter. It’s a perfect recipe but what about the cost if you’re staring off? Ideal if you have a small area but not always possible to start off at an allotment fully from the get-go. You may also not have accessible areas that allow for such a large delivery of materials. You may also not have the money to start this as instantly as hoped.
  • There will always be starting costs to starting a garden.
    • Hidden costs of things you never thought of. There are ways to scrimp in places and reusing wood, picking up tools from marketplace etc. but regardless of your method, you will need to add in organic matter at some point to your soil. You won’t instantly have a compost heap that’s ready to use – so the best place to get started is by starting to create your own compost! Whilst this my take time, you’ll be going in the right direction towards being able to go fully no dig.
  • What about the diggers?
    • If you look back through the history of cultivation in this country, especially through war-time, we are profound diggers. Horticultural colleges still teach the double digging method. I am not fully no-dig myself (as I am creating my own composts and leaf mould mulch and this takes time), however I do enjoy getting out the fork and spade. The generations of gardeners who have been taught the more traditional approach to gardening, are those we aspire to and have done for years.
  • But digging keeps me fit?
    • Gardening helps keep you fit and is a wonder for mental health. Whether you choose to dig or not is your choice. You may already have an established garden that is exactly how you want it. You may also have just taken over a plot and don’t quite have the funds to start going all-in no dig. We all have different circumstances and I don’t think you should be able to judge someone on their cultivation methods. Not everyone has the ability to dig. No Dig brings inclusivity for those who may not have been able to be a gardener, or struggled with it and their abilities, previously. That can only be a good thing.
  • How can I start the no dig method?
    • There are books, videos, blogs, vlogs etc to sink your teeth into. Just search for Charles Dowding. He creates his own compost too and will show you how to be a completely self sustainable no dig gardener. Even if you start one bed at a time, like I do. Just go at the pace that suits you.
  • What if I want to dig?
    • Then do so. As long as you have respect for your surroundings (wildlife, other humans), then go for it if that’s the method that suits you. There’s no judgement either way.
  • Advancements in science!
    • As we go through life, there will be advancements in the amount of knowledge that we can gain. There are so many more botanical names being changed every day due to such advancements. No dig is an overhaul for the gardening community but do accept that advancements and understanding is a good thing and perhaps, may change the way we garden forever in the future. Do some googling.


Whatever you decide is best for you and your garden is the right path. I create my own compost on all 3 of my sites and whilst I do not create enough compost for the space that I have, I am going in the right direction.

There ARE times when I need to buy in composts, which is fine, I just can’t on a large scale, which is also fine. So I decided to make more of my own.

There’s no judgement to those who can afford to start their no dig journey on a large scale. We all live under different circumstances!

I’m not here to spout all of Charles Dowding’s methods, but it’s certainly worth a look for the long run.

All in all, gardening is an inclusive passion.




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