Judges comments at the Awards ceremony 23.11.2017, London
The judges were bowled over by the sheer volume of useful information in this comprehensive book. Written with obvious passion by people who practice what they preach, it’s full of immensely logical and clear explanations that don’t baffle with technical terms. The useful key tables and clear, informative photos all add to this hugely practical book that is perfect for anyone interested in growing their own veg and making the most of their harvests without needing to dig.
RHS review The Garden p.93 November 2017, by Jim Buckland of West Dean Gardens, Sussex
“Although I have been gardening professionally for 45 years, I found this book enlightening, thought provoking and immensely practical in equal measure. I am confident that if this were the first volume to grace the shelves of a gardening novice, it would be equally stimulating and useful, and would ensure a smooth start to a growing life. It does exactly what the title suggests it will do, and does it with clarity, humour and immense practicality.
Despite being an enthusiast for his take on growing practice, he is not a fanatical ideologue but a true empiricist. His arguments are based on the outcome of years of rigorously recorded experimentation and observation, forming the foundation for all of his recommendations. Charles is a man driven by a desire to find the most effective and environmentally benign method of producing as much food from a small area as is feasible. He then converts it to good domestic use with the able assistance of his partner and co-author Stephanie Hafferty.”
Book of the Month in Gardens Illustrated August 2017:
No dig is just the starting point of this book and it goes on to cover every possible aspect of growing, cooking and preserving, combining all of Dowding and Hafferty’s knowledge, ideas and recipes. There are tables for the best sowing times, required soil temperatures and spacings, plus protection, pests and diseases are covered in detail.
Then there are recipes for using your produce to create DIY potions for the garden – sprays, fertilisers and so on – and for the home – soaps, cleaning solutions and laundry powder – as well as plenty of mouth-watering, vegetable-based recipes.
All of these extras combine to make this more of a manual for self sufficiency and an alternative lifestyle than a straight gardening book, and it is all the more useful and thought provoking for it. It is a brilliant place for a beginner to start and will also give old timers pause to consider doing things in this alternative way. (Lia Leendertz)
Setting up a no dig garden:
- make compost and enrich soil
- learn skills you need to sow and grow annual and perennial veg
- harvest and prepare food year round
- make natural cosmetics, cleaning products and garden preparations
These approaches work as well in small spaces as in large gardens. The Authors’ combined experience gives you ways of growing, preparing and storing the plants you grow for many uses, including delicious vegetable feasts and many recipes and ideas for increasing self reliance, saving money, living sustainably and enjoying the pleasure of growing your own food, year round.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Charles is a pioneer of organic and no dig growing since 1983, creating and cropping four market gardens, the largest of seven acres. He has written nine books, plus articles for national gardening magazines, runs a YouTube channel, teaches at home and abroad and appears on BBC gardening programmes. Stephanie Hafferty is an organic no dig kitchen gardener, writer and chef, specialising in seasonal plant based food. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge of growing and cooking to feed families and communities, so in 2018 she wrote a book on preparing seasonal food and potions, The Creative Kitchen.