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. In October I posted one about yields from dig/no dig, different composts, and about plant rotation.

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’.

News, Gardeners World, module 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.

  • 16.10.16, the middle of autumn and there is still no frost here, though I hear that some valleys and northern areas of Britain have frozen a little. 

    Because of autumn’s increasing mildness, over the last three decades* at least, I sowed my brassica salads for winter a whole ten days later than normal, at the equinox. We are planting them now, mostly next week. Its the last big planting of 2016, garlic too which is mostly outside, then broad beans in November – its too early now to sow broad beans, except in cooler parts of the north.

    *Mean temp October 1983-90 11.2C, 2008-15 11.7C

    Continue reading →

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charlesdowding @charlesdowding
Charles Dowding  @charlesdowding
Veg colours: radish Poloneza sown 12th September and Golden beetroot sown May #nodig 
Charles Dowding  @charlesdowding
@joshthegarden only if its brown, old straw, otherwise it grabs nutrients to break down, try old leaves at base too 
Charles Dowding  @charlesdowding
@joshthegarden no dig works fine, be sure to sow & plant at best time, you need a copy of my new diary appearing December 
Charles Dowding  @charlesdowding
@JaniceShipp Hi Janice! 2in compost last November, I grew broad beans as first crop, picked June, beetroot planted July, no more compost