No dig

Create a garden of delicious vegetables quickly and easily. Learn to grow organic, flavoursome food, in a way that saves time, respects the environment and sustains the soil. It’s  good in small spaces, and on weedy allotments too.

See Homeacres no dig garden (quarter acre/1000 sq. m of veg beds) on my You Tube channel. Videos include clearing and replanting and harvesting potatoes and onions, and see the whole 3/4 acre during July 2016 in this beautiful film. There are videos about my trials to compare growth and harvests from dig/no dig, different composts, and varied plant rotation. And most importantly, about clearing weeds without digging using option 1 or option 2, and clarifying no dig, the annual soil feed.

Enjoy this 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:

My perennial Diary for Veg Gardeners has 168 pages packed with information for the keen vegetable grower. One quarter is an any-year diary, to write your top dates for sowing, weeding, mulching and harvesting. Gardeners are using it to plan their season ahead. It starts with first sowings on Valentines Day.

The Sunday Times of 4th December 2016 recommends Charles' diary book

The Sunday Times of 4th December recommends Charles’ diary book

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

PracticalJournalistOfTheYear

My advice is based on 35 years growing and offers time-saving tips, such as a unique sowing timeline, and fortnightly updates on what’s best to do now. To find out more, come on a course, or 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

Charles with his longest parsnip of 2016, no dig

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 too, for restaurants and shops in Bruton, Pilgrims pub and a few weekly boxes.

Since 2006 I have written books and produced videos on caring for soil and growing vegetables. I share my knowledge and discoveries 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 in 2016, for a programme to be screened in 2017, about my organic and no dig approach. We remember the Gardeners World programme at my first market garden in 1988, with Geoff Hamilton, at a time when organic was still new and unaccepted. 

Gardeners World Beechgrove Garden trialled no dig veg growing “and it was a great success. The veg in the undug beds were larger, healthier looking and produced greater yields than their traditionally dug counterparts. We’ll be doing that again.” (Mairi Rattray, Gardeners World magazine January 2017).

 see this for current-year results from one of my growing trials:harvests were 99.58kg from the dug bed and 109.57kg from the undug. Scroll down for previous year’s results from the  same beds, of equal 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

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


  • A happy new year to my readers, may your gardens be bountiful, and easier to look after.

    When does the gardening year begin? You could pick any date from October to March, depending where you live (snow on the ground, or not) and whether your soil is clear of weeds. In much of the UK, you can mulch soil with compost in January, if you have not already. Check this half-minute video for the essence of no dig preparation, when soil has been kept clear of weeds using a little and often approach.

    In my diary I begin the sowing year on Valentines Day, because the rapidly lengthening days after mid-February make new growth more viable than when seeds are sown in January. For now, I recommend to sow nothing, and to finish soil preparation instead. Buy seeds and some potting compost, or sieve some of your own. The latter will probably have less nutrients, depending on what you added to the heap.

    Continue reading →

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RT @ClaireCawley1:Watched some @charlesdowding vids on YouTube- think we'll be trying a couple of manure hot beds on the plot soon! #allotment #gardening 
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RT @bo_novak:@charlesdowding Pleasure. Bumped into Stephanie tending garden @HauserWirth pumpkins in the autumn. Want a recipe book from her!