Raised NO-TILL Garden

raised garden : no till farming style

Growing an organic garden is one of the most rewarding things to spend your time doing. Food is the energy that keeps our bodies alive and moving, feeding your body right gives you an abundance of energy and creates a healthy living system. 

Food = Life

What you will need to make an 8ft x 8ft bed:
  • Newspaper (without too much color, no glossy paper)
  • 5 trash bags full or 1 bale of hay, alfalfa is perfect
  • 6-8 cubic feet of compost
  • 6-8 cubic feet of AGED manure (chicken, steer, goat... whatever you can find)
  • Wood, stones, cinder blocks - anything that holds the raised bed in place

Raised bed designs:




Step 1:
Soak newspaper in a bucket of water (or spray with the hose as you go and lay down covering the entire raised bed, 3-5 sheets thick depending on the amount of weeds, and layer them covering about 1/3 of each sheet with the next sheet. This keeps the weeds down and will break down into the soil giving it carbon. Glossy paper doesn't break down very well and has chemicals that are no bueno, as does colored ink.

Step 2:
Put up the barrier of wood or stone, whatever you are using, so your raised bed doesn't shift around over time. There are tons of great ways to set up the bed and you definitely don't have to make your bed 8ft x 8ft. If you do make it that large, you will need to put some stones throughout before you build the bed so you have something to stand on. One factor in the no-till method is that you should never step on the bed, so you never disturb the natural factors at play beneath the surface of the soil.

Step 3:
Start your first layer of manure, which should be about 2" thick. You may be able to find free manure if you live near any dairy or egg farmers, but make sure the animals are eating grass and weeds, not grain fed. If you get it from a local farm, ask if they have any that is already aged, otherwise you'll have to let it age for at least 3 months but it depends on where it is and how it's maintained. Once the manure is ready, it will be a very soft soil texture and won't have a smell. Otherwise, you can buy steer manure from a local nursery, but not all nurseries have it available so call first. Water thoroughly.

Step 4:
Layer 2" of hay, alfalfa, straw, or even dead leaves and branches will work. Water thoroughly.

Step 5:
Layer 2" of compost high in green matter ie. vegetable waste, fruit peels, fresh leaves, etc. It should say on the compost bag what was used to make it. Green matter provides a high nitrogen content.

Step 6:
Keep layering until you have a nice, thick bed. The last layer should be compost, then top with some straw as mulch.

Step 7:
Plant stuff!


  1. I am hoping to put some raised bed gardens in my yard come this spring. It is a solution perfect for me that I discovered early in November (Searching for Sustenance: My Own Garden for Eating). I think I'll be back here when I am ready so I can follow your steps! :)

  2. Love Comment Blog ♥ (8) Swap (2/3) Piimanyx

    I'll like to have a garden, but I live in a city, in an appartment, and I don't have garden :(
    We have somes plants on balcony, but we don't can grow up bigs flowers or legums, fruits, and other :(

  3. I wonder if Nicole ever started her raised bed garden... Sorry I never responded to your comment, Nicole!

    Piimanyx - I live a little out of the city, but I do live in an apartment. They have allowed people to grow flowers in the garden beds around the building, so I decided to grow vegetables! :) It has turned out so beautifully. I'm not very good at growing in pots, but I attempted it this year and actually have learned A LOT. My pepper plant is in a 5 gallon bucket and it is doing FANTASTIC! The 5 gallon buckets work really well for many veggies.