No dig

Charles’ new Diary for Veg Gardeners is available now, 168 pages packed with information for the keen vegetable grower. One quarter of the book is an any-year diary format, where you can record top dates for sowing, weeding, mulching and harvesting.

Your abundant garden of delicious vegetables is created without lifting a spade. You put organic, flavoursome food on the kitchen table in a way that saves you time, respects the environment and sustains the soil. It’s  possible in small spaces and on weedy allotments, give it a go.

Videos on my channel, learn about cropping 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 about yields from dig/no dig, different composts, and about plant rotation. Perhaps most importantly, about clearing weeds without digging.

See also a time lapse of Steph and I 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 filmed here summer 2016, for a programme to be screened 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.


    Are you ready for cold weather?  November was 4.5C (8F) cooler than last year, and December looks to be cool, perhaps with snow around the solstice. Otherwise mostly dry. 

    November was above average rainfall here because of the wet spell from 19th-21st (see below, no dig drainage), but otherwise it was fine and the sunshine total of 90hrs contrasts with 33hrs last November. This morning 30th it was -7C (19F) here.

    Continue reading →

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charlesdowding @charlesdowding
Charles Dowding  @charlesdowding
@biophilliabod sorry to miss you too, sounds fun though 
Charles Dowding  @charlesdowding
See you at the fair today and find me in the Western Daily Press too 
Charles Dowding  @charlesdowding
@Bob_Collis interesting to hear that Bob. This trial has taught me more about the value of no dig. Weeds are still growing on the dug. 
Charles Dowding  @charlesdowding
After 8 months harvesting same veg from dug and undug beds, 2016 totals are 99.6kg dug, 109.6kg no dig, details her…