Talk – No Dig Gardening
February 14 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
For Dorset Plant Heritage. Emphasising soil conservation and improvement.
An illustrated, 80 minute talk on how to have healthy soil and enjoy easier harvests, followed by questions and answers.
How to make, buy and use compost of different kinds.
How to clear perennial weeds with mulches, including couch grass and bindweed.
How to maintain a no dig plot, with an annual mulch of compost.
You see photos of the trials I run to compare the effects on growth of dig/no dig, different composts and no rotation.
As well as reducing the time and effort needed to cultivate and weed, no dig has many other benefits, which I explain. Plus I bring a selection of my nine books, signed and for sale.
Most soil already has a good structure for plant roots to grow, and is full of growth-enabling organisms. Millions of fungal threads, nematodes and earthworms, to name a few, are being helpful right under our feet, mostly out of sight. We need to help them to help us.
You have already started no dig without knowing! Since the last time you dug or tilled or forked your soil, it has been healing itself, with networks of fungi, breeding of health-bringing organisms and recreation of a stable structure. Simply build on that, it’s easy to created good structure and drainage, plus there are unexpected benefits.
Advantages of no dig
- Weeds germinate less. 1) because their seeds are not exposed to light during cultivation, 2) because organic matter on the surface (instead of dug in) is a weed suppressing mulch, both physically and through encouragement of fungi near the surface, 3) because undisturbed soil does not need to recover.
- Mycorrhizal fungi stay intact, then help plant roots to find more nutrients and extract more moisture, because they are smaller than roots and can reach into tiny crevices.
- You have access in wet weather because drainage is good: the soil’s structure has not been broken by tools or machinery, water runs away and you can garden when you need to. Mud does not stick to your boots!
- You can quickly resow or replant at any time of year, with no soil preparation needed. Simply twist out plants when you clear a preceding crop to leave most roots in the soil, and remove any surface debris.
- Moisture is retained and is available to considerable depth, because there is no ‘shatter zone’ caused by cultivations.
- Warmth is retained by soil in winter because deep-level warmth can rise, unhindered by damage from cultivations: my gardens have always been admired for their early harvests.
- Carbon stays in the soil rather than being converted to CO2 by oxidation after cultivations.
“Many thanks for making the journey to Sheffield last week, and providing such a fantastic and stimulating talk for our audience. Everyone loved it!”
Gareth Roberts of Regather
Sheffield’s Festival of Debate Talk Attendee
“Charles has become the guru of no dig gardening. He’s a really good grower, organic, has fabulous produce and we went down to Somerset to see how he does it…. I’m a convert now, I want to dig as little as possible.”
BBC Gardeners World
I came on a course last August, and it has given me so much direction and understanding in my gardening thinking. And your updates through the winter are an absolute tonic.
1-2 Bridport Road
DT11RR United Kingdom