Did you know you can start a new and highly functional vegetable garden in less than an hour, all without the back-breaking, blister-forming double-digging method that leaves you with crummy soil and lots of weeds? And that the resulting garden will give excellent results from the very first season?
First choose a sunny spot with no tree roots in the vicinity. Now cover the area where you intend to garden with damp newspaper, about 7 to 10 sheets thick. You don’t have to remove the grass or weeds that were there originally, as the newspaper will act like a weed barrier. You don’t have to dig in deep and turn the soil over, as that just drags up weed seeds and third quality subsoil you’d do better to leave buried. You can however use unwaxed cardboard instead of newspaper if you prefer.
Overlap the sheets by at least 2 inches (5 cm) at margins to create a perfect barrier. Now you just have to cover with a 1 foot (30 cm) layer of 30 cm of good top soil, rake the new plot smooth… and start gardening.
Without light, lawn grasses and weeds below the newspaper barrier will die and will turn into compost. And newspaper itself disappears over time, when its job is done, as will cardboard, allowing the roots of your vegetables to go as deeply as they want to.
Ignore the frequently repeated warning that you shouldn’t use color newspaper pages in the garden because their ink contains lead and other heavy metals. Those inks were banned in the 1970s and replaced by plant-based inks, so unless your source of newsprint is very, very old…
You can also add an extra step and frame your new kitchen garden with planks (10 or 12 inch/25-30 cm boards work well). Do this just after the step where you put down the newspaper barrier. Just place the frame directly on top of the newspaper and simply fill in the frame with topsoil.
Simple, right? And I’m pretty you this won’t take you anywhere near an hour to install!