No dig

Imagine an abundant garden of delicious vegetables, created without lifting a spade. Imagine putting organic, flavoursome food on the kitchen table in a way that saves you time, respects the environment and sustains the soil – the lifeblood of the garden. This is  possible in small spaces and on weedy allotments, so why not give it a go?

My videos about midsummer in the no dig garden: clearing and replanting and harvesting potatoes and onions and see all of Homeacres July 2016 in this beautiful film

On You Tube you can see a time lapse of us harvesting lettuce leaves. Below is a fast potato harvest, no dig style, no fork or spade needed, potatoes grown without any soil disturbance and the tubers develop in surface compost. Homeacres July 2016, Charles with Felix helping:

Charles is a passionate and accomplished gardener who grows vegetables of amazing flavour” Raymond Blanc

Save time and money

Homeacres W. side Aug 24th before harvest of Kuri squash (top left) – since May this area has needed almost no weeding. With no dig and compost mulch, the surface stays clear of weeds, after any perennial weeds have been mulched, here there were buttercups and dandelions


My advice is based on long experience of growing and has many time-saving tips. A unique sowing timeline, and fortnightly updates on what’s best to do now are two examples. To find out more why not come on a course, or you can learn online with my in-depth video course.
Your no dig garden is truly inspirational” Darina Allen, Ballymaloe

About me

The country’s best writer on organic vegetable growing, thank you for your advice.” Rosie Boycott

cover NDFFT Charles 16

I have spent 35 years learning and developing a no dig method of commercial organic vegetable growing, with little weeding needed. Currently my  quarter acre of intensively cropped beds yield over a tonne of salad leaves every year, and vegetables for a wholefood shop, pub and a few weekly boxes.

Since 2006 I have written seven books and produced many videos on caring for soil and growing vegetables. I share this passion and knowledge through international talks, courses and regular magazine articles, earning the Garden Media Guilds award ‘Practical Journalist of the Year, 2014’.

Gardeners World, module tray offer, Trial update 

Gardeners World magazine (March 2016) feature my work as one of their 25 “key moments that have changed gardening forever”, in the 25 years since the magazine started.

No. 20 of Gardeners World 25 'key moments'

No. 20 of Gardeners World 25 ‘key moments’

BBC Gardeners World have filmed here this summer, for a programme to be screened sometime in 2017. Its about my organic and no dig approach, and we reminisce about the Gardeners World programme I made with Geoff Hamilton in 1988, when organic was still new and unaccepted.

 see this for current-year results from one of my growing trials: to 4th August, harvests of edible produce are 51.0kg dug bed and 50.4kg undug bed. Also on the page are 2015’s results from the  side-by-side comparison of dug and undug beds of the same size – yields in 2015 were 96.6kg from dug soil and 101.4kg from undug soil, each with the same amount of compost.

For module trays, Plant Pots Direct are offering a 15% discount with the code charlesdowding15

See my article about starting no dig in Indie Farmer, and this on saving time.

  • At Homeacres, the first ten days of September were a gardener’s dream. Summer warmth continuing, of (average) 14C 57F by night and 21C 70F by day, also with 47mm (1.9in) rain falling onto dry soil. I have noticed very few weed seeds germinating after the rain, except where soil was disturbed pulling up potatoes. 

    Every square inch of my ground has plants in at this time, the last plantings almost all of salads because I am selling leaves until Christmas. If you have gaps appearing, its a good moment to sow white mustard (Synapsis alba) for green manure, which is killed by moderate frost, so no worries about clearing or heaven forbid, the commonly-advised ‘digging it in’. Rest your spade in winter, except to plant trees or clear brambles.

    Continue reading →

More Posts….

Subscribe for updates

Sign up to to participate in my forums, filled with like-minded gardeners and useful advice, and to receive a newsletter with my latest seasonal updates, news and offers. See my partner Stephanie Hafferty for more on vegetable growing and her recipe/potion ideas.


charlesdowding @charlesdowding
Charles Dowding  @charlesdowding
Inspired to take a photo of this 1kg calabrese, I added some seasonal veg including Thai Long Purple aubergine and… 
Charles Dowding  @charlesdowding
Brilliant piece on the connections between eating healthy food and being in a good mood. Avoid dead food, tasty quo… 
Charles Dowding  @charlesdowding
@GreenJimll I grow mine @Steph_Hafferty 's allotment where so far, no badgers enter; here its impossible, see if a friend has a safe plot!