The compost arrived! Yay!
It hadn't been seived! Boo!
The supplier apologised and offered to replace with seived compost in 2-3 months time but our schedule would not allow it.
So until the tractor arrives we have to hand sieve the 30 tons of compost. Aaaargh!
At least we were not charged for the compost.
We sourced wood shavings for the pathways between the beds of compost from Woodzone (woodzone.co.nz) - 9 fadges of shavings ($25 plus $5 deposit on the bag) and 1 fadge of sawdust ($10 plus $5 deposit on the bag). Setting the shavings in place was hopeless (just blew away) until we soaked the shavings first. This took a long time but then sieving the compost by hand took a long time too...
Finally, ther tractor arrived (1 month late) and then wouldn't start. More waiting to get the thing fixed then next day...
Still wouldn't start. Grrr.
Whilst the menfolk take up cudgels with the tractor supplier we manage to borrow a cute little red Massey 135 from friends for a few weeks to take some of the work out of the sieving.
This progresses much faster but causes different aches and pains through using rakes to riddle the compost through the sieve.
After 3 weeks building the beds we have 10 made (10m by 70cm) with 30cm pathways between the beds and on the outside border.
We gave up on using shavings for the pathways and ordered 25m3 of arborist mulch from Timberline (timberlinecontracting.co.nz with free delivery for us as we afre just around the corner) which has been a much better solution albeit at a higher cost ($30 per m3) but definitely time and labour saving.
Note the wood shavings for pathways and useless tractor in the background.
For No-Dig gardening, you first need to lay down cardboard making sure you have removed all packing tape & plastic-coated labels. We initially bought some packing cardboard (at $1 per m3) but it was quite a lot thinner than "normal" cardboard from boxes so wouldn't recommend using this as it is very fragile compared to the more robust acrdboard from boxes. Also, make sure you are not using shiny cardboard as this has a fine layer of plastic on it and you don't want that. We found that the best boxes are from white goods, beds and bikes.
Lay the cardboard such that they overlap a good 15 to 20cm. Then lay on your compost 10 to 15 cm thick, or more if you can afford it.
Note the still useless tractor in the background! We have used Biomaglia Anti-Insect / Psyllid Netting as a physical barrier to protect from insects (and rabbits too, hopefully) sourced from Polynet.co.nz.