Charles Dowding has been practising no-dig organic growing for over 30 years. In this new, full colour edition of Organic Gardening, he shares the wealth of his experience, explaining his approach to soil and plants and revealing the range of techniques that have enabled him to grow healthy and vibrant plants for decades. His success is based on some key principles: No-dig enhances soil structure and encourages healthy growth; Organic matter is best spread on the surface - just leave it on the top and let the worms take it in, aerating the soil as they do so; When starting with weedy soil there is a period of 3-12 months, depending on weed types, when the emphasis is on cleaning and improving the soil; Using a no-dig method you can easily control weeds with just a little hand weeding or hoeing every ten days or so, when weeds are small. Based on this approach and his experience of a system of permanent, slightly raised beds, Organic Gardening shows you how to grow a delicious variety of fruit and vegetables: what to choose, when to sow, plant and harvest, and how best to avoid pests and diseases without the need to dig.
I run a beautiful garden of year round vegetables, all growing in soil that is never dug, except to remove parsnips that grow incredibly long. Among the many advantageous results of not digging, with compost on top, is that there are fewer weeds and a healthy abundance of food. I explain this in my books, magazine articles (Gardeners World, Kitchen Garden, Simply Vegetables) and at lectures and courses, both locally and nationally.
My first book on organic gardening without digging came out in 2007, then in a second edition in October 2010, and a third edition in February 2013. I receive many lovely letters (emails) of appreciation and these connections with readers are a fine bonus to the quiet task of writing.
The vegetables I most like to grow are salads and the experience of selling bags of seasonal leaves, all year round, led to the writing of my second book on Salad Leaves for All Seasons, which is used by many commercial growers as well as gardeners. The third book is on Winter Vegetables and covers the hungry gap too, with many tables and photos. Monty Don and Robin Lane Fox like this one.
Then my course book of 2012 is to help readers in the process of setting up a no dig garden, with tips on mulching, tools, weeds and seasonal sowing. It gave birth to the Veg Journal book in 2014, in a month my month format and with pages for notes. Bunny Guinness said in the Sunday Telegraph that it is a 'coffee stained rather than coffee table book", for taking out in the garden. Bunny enjoys a nice cup of coffee while savouring her vegetable garden and that is a major part of my writing, to encourage enjoyment of vegetable growing and a love of your beautiful plants.
Soil and vegetables are my passion and I seek to convey their amazing qualities in my writing and teaching about them; I hope you also learn to enjoy growing and savouring good food.