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Future Gardeners

Inspiring the next generation

Working with children in any gardening context can be great fun, and especially with such simple methods. No dig offers rapid bed creation and ultimately less weeding, what not to like! Children engage easily and no dig makes sense to them.

See my Get Started page for how to create beds. It's probably worth having wooden sides so that children can see clearly the extent of where to garden.

Future Gardeners

Our Future Gardeners initiative was started with the objective of encouraging as many children as possible into the garden to grow their own. We plan to support and encourage adults and teachers through advice, resources and a monthly newsletter (sign-up box below).

On 17th January 2024, we had a successful first forum, with over 1300 participants from all parts of the globe. We had six speakers, introduced by Charles, who all spoke brilliantly about the projects they run with children – they are a wealth of information. You can watch the forum on YouTube.

Schools and clubs

For schools, there is the question of plant and bed maintenance during holidays. I have created a list of sowing dates to give harvests in term time. This can be downloaded as a PDF for easy reference.

You can also learn a lot from my social media posts. In September 2023, I had a lovely comment from Sara Gibson on Instagram:

I would like you to know how much we glean from you and put to practice in our school gardens out in Oregon, USA.

Many children learn in other settings such as gardening clubs. Please see this video we made about Lara Honnor's @skoolbeanz project. Lara was one of our speakers at the Future Gardeners Forum (see below).

No Dig Day

Every year on 3rd November we celebrate no dig across the world. As part of the day, we run competitions for children – see this page for the 2023 winners!

Resources

Books and videos

My No Dig Children’s Gardening Book, with advice and ideas for growing with children.

My No Dig book has further details on how to sow, spacings, and recommended varieties.

My YouTube videos receive good comments in terms of child-friendliness. This is from Dan, a photographer, in February 2020:

These videos should be shown in schools, not just to teach children about sustainable gardening, but to teach them how to speak calmly, smile and be welcoming.

Useful Information

I have a bank of 'Useful Information' (a digital product accessible via my website), which contains information on the seasons and weather, a comprehensive glossary of gardening terms I use, a table showing which vegetables belong to which plant family, a table with detailed spacing information for a wide range of vegetables, and a harvesting timeline detailing the main months for sowing and harvesting. The glossary, plant family information, spacing guide and harvesting timeline can all be downloaded as PDF’s.

‍I offer this free to schools and children’s gardening clubs. Please email anna@charlesdowding.co.uk if you would like access.

The What, When and How

I also write a weekly advice newsletter, the ‘What, When and How’, which gives advice on sowing, transplanting, protecting, weeding and harvesting for the week ahead. It runs for nine months each year, from February until October.

In March 2023, we featured Phil Brown, a headteacher from North Lincolnshire, who has created a wonderful school no dig garden – you can read about it here. Phil then sent us an update in July 2023, describing the fantastic cross-curricular teaching and learning that has been going on in the garden since – you can read this here. Phil was also one of our speakers for the Future Gardeners Forum (see above).

The WWH is a paid-for subscription (sign-up box below) but I offer free subscriptions to schools and children’s gardening clubs – please email anna@charlesdowding.co.uk.

Sign up to Charles's newsletters

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Charles's No Dig Newsletter

Charles’s advice for best soil and vegetables, and reminders of what to sow and plant upcoming, how to harvest and store, and ways to make compost. Also updates from Homeacres, together with news and events.

Once or twice per month – free
£5pcm
Free subscriptions available

The What, When & How

Charles gives detailed advice on sowing, transplanting, protecting, weeding and harvesting for the week ahead. There is also a weekly feature written by three new growers, plus a helpful list of resources. Paying subscribers are also eligible for free access to my pack of 'Useful Information'.

Every Friday from Feb to Oct – £5 per month (free subscriptions available)
Free
NEW!

Future Gardeners

Following on from our Future Gardeners Forum, this gives news, ideas and resources for those who garden with children, or those who would like to start a children's growing project.

Once per month – free
Blog

Seasonal tips on my blog

Follow along as I prepare for the seasons ahead and share my experiences with you

April 2024 no dig helps with drainage, harvests and sowings

The value of sowing in autumn and early spring, what to sow now, how no dig makes everything easier

Mid March 24, under way outside

New sowings inside and out, water them sparingly, covers and no dig success in wet weather

March 2024 Exciting possibilities

What to sow, no dig planting, and harvests already