You are hereOrganic Gardening - The Natural No-Dig Way
Organic Gardening - The Natural No-Dig Way
Organic Gardening - The Natural No-Dig Way
Second edition published October 2010, extra advice on no dig and new photographs
THIRD EDITION PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2013, ALL COLOUR
See www.greenbooks.co.uk/Organic-Gardening published 4th February £14.95
“This is absolutely the best book on organic vegetable growing”
A top ten book in BBC Gardens Illustrated and also on Gardeners Question Time, 2007
In Organic Gardening, Charles Dowding, who set up one of the first vegetable box schemes in 1983, shares the philosophy, tips and techniques which have enabled him to run a successful organic garden supplying local restaurants and shops for 28 years:
- Forget the rules:'Received wisdom' about gardening is surprisingly innaccurate. Follow Charles' tips to work out the most practical methods for your own garden instead.
- Respect and encourage soil, plant and animal life as much as you can, chiefly by spreading good compost or manure, and leaving it on top.
- There is no need to dig in compost or manure - just let worms take it in. Digging can harm soil structure and is not helpful to plants.
- You can reduce weeding to a little hand-weeding or hoeing every ten days: little and often is better than occasional blitzes.
Based on his experience of a system of permanent slightly-raised beds, cheap to create, without wooden sides, Charles takes you through a delicious variety of fruit and vegetables: what to choose, when to plant and harvest, and how best to avoid pests and diseases. The book includes Susie's recipes to help you make the most of your fresh-picked produce.
In autumn 2010 I received this message from inhabitants of an Inner Hebridean island:
"We have been inspired by your teachings and have totally embraced the no dig way with great results, the Rebecca Hoskins' BBC film 'Farm for the Future' was the catalyst for change.
My husband was an 'industrial' farmer in the East Anglian Fens before we retired to Lismore (scotland west coast). He has had to concede basically all his knowledge about digging, plant spacing, ploughing and chemical interference and the previously ingrained 'truths' were flawed, in other words it is now a world of opposites for him!
No Dig and masses of seaweed/home made compost and a love of worms seem to be the answer to what otherwise tended to be a waterlogged, mineral poor soil.
As you know there is nothing like the converted to spread the word and the population of the island are now raised bed fans, we have recommended your book to so many that we now don't seem to be able to get any more copies!"
This review was posted on Amazon in April 2012, by G. Cook:
" A really brilliant book which has become my only vegetable gardening reference book. My allotment is testament to the raised bed no dig method and the lack of weeds is astonishing! The hints on the timing and method of sowing different seeds is very helpful as most seed packets are too vague. A well written, no frills, easy to understand, portable book which will stand the test of time."
“A marvellous book that is a delight to read and a mine of information, definitely a best buy.”
Mike Mason, The Good Gardeners Association
“Charles Dowding's brilliant book has become a bit of a veg-growing bible in our household.”
Cleve West in The Independent's Urban Gardener column, Sat Jan 5th 2008
“The exceptional health and taste of the crops growing at Lower Farm would seem to bear witness to the methods employed in their cultivation. The only way to be truly convinced, of course, is to lay down your spade and fork and try the no-dig method for yourself. As Charles would say: “The answer is in the soil.”
Rebecca Pow in Amateur Gardening, June 23 2007
REVIEW FROM AMAZON 2011:
My bookshelves groan with the weight of the hundreds of gardening books I have collected over the years. The lovely Monty Don, the much-missed Geoff Hamilton, RHS etc. However, Charles Dowding's Organic Gardening book means I could throw them all away, as it contains every single thing I could ever need to know about the best way to grow veg and fruit.
It is written so clearly, with enormous thought put into every question you might have had. It is never boring or tedious or long-winded. He also recommends specific varieties of veg to get, which is such a help when overwhelmed by all the choice out there. In his suppliers' appendix he mentions Delflands nursery, from whom I have ordered and their produce is superb & incredibly good value. The copper tools he mentions are a great boon & do seem to deter slugs.
Last Summer, thanks to his 1st edition of this book, my veg garden, which is 90 ft by 60 ft, was admired by all my friends & even photographed by them. More importantly, it provided plentiful food all year with far less effort & far better results than ever achieved before.
His no-dig method is both simple & brilliant. It has saved us days of back-breaking work which actually harms the soil. Bob Flowerdew also uses the no-dig method, but has not written a book as clear & comprehensive as this one.
This is not a coffee table book with arty photos of someone digging, it has clear, colour photos of step-by-step methods & the results compared with other methods in photographs. Fascinating & very convincing (& true as I have proved myself).
This book must be seen as the labour of love it is; generous sharing with us all of his lifetime of knowledge of what really works. I don't know how adequately to do this wonderful book justice; please do buy it. Whether you have no knowledge, or if you are a very experienced gardener, you will be so very glad you did.
This book has literally changed my life.
Your ‘No Dig’ book is ever at my hand’s reach! I’ve had huge success this year, despite awkward weather. I had a raised bed made, as I have little room in my small garden borders for veg. I’ve had wonderful crops of chard, broccoli and lettuce. No room for a proper greenhouse, so I have a “mini portable” which is invaluable.
There is no need for trials on whether to dig or not – just ask me!! ‘No dig’ makes utter sense and I tell everybody about it.”
From Jane Toplis, Bude, Cornwall
A reader's comment, from Gail Stevens, Wincanton:
"This year I followed your method of just removing the weeds (still not easy !!) and shoveling a good layer of compost over the ground. I did it towards the end of last season when planting leek plants and kale plants. The leeks grew to the thickest I have ever grown, we were delighted. Throughout the winter months as the ground became 'free', I put down more compost, and planted my onion sets. I have always grown onions and the size of them is adequate, but usually the size of shallots, that I also grow. However, my onions this year were the biggest ever, and could have won prizes at the Gillingham and Shaftesbury show !!
As you say in your book, 'put down the compost and let the worms do the work' it is certainly true, as vegetables are finishing and I pull the plants out, the evidence of worms is fantastic, they are certainly earning their living in my garden.
Thank you so much for such a good book, which I continue to use for reference, I think everything in my garden has done much better than normal, even though the weather this year has been awful for vegetable growing, my vegetables include: Broad beans, french beans, chard, spinach, carrots, beetroot, swede, jerusalem artichokes, calabrese, brussel sprouts (which have fought back after leaves being stripped by cabbage white caterpillars !) courgettes (the only veg that didn't produce as much as normal, but that was due to the cold weather) leeks, kale, cauliflowers, sprouting broccoli - all now coming into their own for the winter months. This year I have grown herbs and salad leaves and lettuces in pots, again in the compost from the compost heaps."
Available now from Green Books.