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homeacres Courses

In my garden at Homeacres, Somerset, I teach how to grow all kinds of vegetables productively, healthily, and more easily. I explain and show the successful methods I have evolved over decades, using no dig and organic principles.
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day courses

Gardening is often made to sound more complicated than it is, especially with regard to feeding plants and coping with weeds. You’ll feel empowered through understanding the methods you see at Homeacres, which you can then adapt to your own garden.

25% discount for students in full-time education.

Refreshments and a feast of home-grown vegetables.

Chance to purchase books, calendars and wall charts.

Charles' garden
Homeacres garden
intensive weekend courses

The weekend course is about understanding the simplicity of no dig methods. You’ll learn how to use that knowledge to garden more efficiently and economically.

Evening meal at the local pub on Saturday night.

Refreshments and a feast of home-grown vegetables.

Chance to purchase books, calendars and wall charts.

Afternoon courses

Two hours of intensive learning about topics that make such a difference to being successful with your gardening.

Refreshments included.

Chance to purchase books, calendars and wall charts.

Charles' garden

see what our members are saying

"Many thanks for a lovely day ! It was without a doubt one of the most fun and informative course I’ve been on. A lot more clarity as a beginner with an allotment as to what I have to do – mulch the weeds with cardboard and compost, create cardboard paths, start on my compost boxes, keep the edges of the beds trimmed and the grasses on the surrounding paths short !! I have a lot of rubbish to take to the local skip too. That’s enough to start with!"

Melody Burke – June 2017

"I wanted to thank you very much for your course this weekend. I learnt more in two days than in two years of DIY.  

I experienced the time as a metaphor for how to live as much as how to grow, with the creative flow brought to bear."

Debra Eddy – October 22

"Going to one of Charles Dowding’s no dig days completely changed my way of managing my allotment. I almost didn’t believe the results could be so good having read about it, l like to see things with my own eyes! Using cardboard mulched over with compost/well rotted manure was like having at least 2 extra pairs of hands keeping the weeds down. The cardboard was free from work, there are 3 of us now doing this on our site & in January the weed-covered plot next to me was taken over by another no-dig enthusiast!"

Helen Tierney

"Thank you for such an enjoyable, intriguing, fascinating and helpful day yesterday! We talked all the way home, along the beach with the dog, over a light supper (after that amazing spread at lunchtime), and long into the night…about your ideas that really CAN be implemented, the delight of being in your garden and soaking up its beauty of colours and textures, diversity of vegetables, tastes, compost loo, your interesting, diverse knowledge…..phew…I slept well last night! I love the jolly flowers at the end of each bed….like a satisfied full stop at the end of a well composed sentence!!"

Vicky Fowkes and Alan Taylor – August 2017

"It’s rare that you look forward to something knowing that you will enjoy it, and it’s even better than you expected. This ranks with our holiday!

I was impressed with the holistic approach from caring for the soil, propagation, maximising yield, dealing with pests organically, harvesting and finally, the best bit, eating excellent, tasty and unusual food that everyone enjoyed. Impressive teamwork both on the day and of course running Homeacres."

Eric Brooks-Dowsett – January 2017

"You have created a very welcoming, relaxed and positive learning environment. It sounds simple to do but so many organisations and individuals fail to achieve this and usually the course experience is all the worse for it. But you nailed it."

Nanette Hudson, August 2018

"Moving to no-dig is the best thing we have ever done. Some of our produce this year has been amazing. For example we have never had such successful crops of beetroot, celeriac, leeks, tomatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, shallots, overwintered onions and cauliflowers, cabbages…. I could go on. And we put the success all down to the no-dig approach you taught us. Weeds such as chickweed, which were such a problem to us last year, are no longer an issue.

I tell everyone about how good your approach is."

Bob Paton CBE - Market Gardener at Hexhamshire Organics, October 2019

"It was fantastic to meet you yesterday and spend such an inspirational day at Homeacres. Thank you so much for all the practical information, the exceptional food and the general sense of can-do, my favourite advice of all being ‘Alleviate your worries!’ I have been converting everyone within earshot to no-dig today, and spent several enjoyable hours renovating a neglected bed of raspberries using compost and polythene, a job so daunting I had put it off for months. Feeling very empowered thanks to you - a great start to the growing year."

Laura Evans – February 2020

"I learned shedloads. It challenged my thinking, to be less rigid rigid with planting areas and plans, and interplanting, and also reinforced some good things we are doing. It gave me a lot of ideas on how to be more time efficient.

I enjoy your approach to your garden and am in awe of your passion and desire to constantly improve and challenge commonly held beliefs, and try new things.

Thank you for your time and wisdom."

Emma Pugh June 2021

"Just dropping you a note to say how much I enjoyed yesterday. A massive thank you!! Super informative, amazing food, and a lovely bunch of people to spend the day with.

I’ve spent all day today making adjustments in our garden, but the first thing I did when I got home was to plunge my hand into the middle of our compost heap to check the temperature!!"

Ben Patton – 2021

"A magical garden! Somerset’s very own Eden. As a novice to growing your own food, seeing Charles’s garden and hearing his sage advice was the perfect remedy to settle any confusion I felt about starting my own small plot. The care, love and attention he applies to creating a nourishing garden was truly an inspiration. Soak up what you can – including the wonderful lunch!"

Sarah Savage – October 2022

“As a novice ‘no-digger’, I attended Homeacres alongside experienced gardeners and professional growers. Charles responded to all questions with equanimity. His responses provided you with what you needed to know, no more, no less. We were all enthralled with the journey of his seeds from garden room to greenhouse to ground.

He relayed a lifetime of experience, sharing the simple proponents to gardening success, delivering soil health, selecting quality seeds and planning through the seasons.

He also generously shared some unsuccessful outcomes, encouraging us to adapt to the many variables growing food presents.

A highlight of the day was enjoying the virtues of ‘no-dig’ produce, with a kaleidoscope of colours at lunch presented by Will (the Chef), with ferments, cooked veg, raw salads and a hot stew.

The event was effortlessly managed from my 2022 enquiry, booking and greeting on the day by Nicola (CD’s PA) and her timely 5 minute prompts for Charles.”

Jerry Harrall PhD, April 2023