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Organic Gardening: The Natural No-dig Way [Paperback]

Charles Dowding
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Mar 2007
Charles Dowding, one of the pioneers of vegetable box schemes, shares the philosophy, tips and techniques which have enabled him to run a successful organic garden supplying local restaurants and shops for over 25 years: 1. Forget the rules: received wisdom about gardening is surprisingly inaccurate. Understand what is going on in your own garden and climate, and work out your own methods 2. Respect and encourage life as much as you can, chiefly by spreading good compost or manure 3. There is no need to dig in compost and manure just spread it on top and let worms take it in 4. You only need to weed about once every ten days. Based on his experience of a system of permanent slightly-raised beds, Charles takes you through a delicious variety of fruit and vegetables: what to choose, when to plant and harvest, and how best to avoid pests and diseases. The book includes recipes to inspire you, with your fresh-picked produce, and 32 pages of full colour photographs.


Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Green Books; 1st edition (15 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903998913
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903998915
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 210,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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.

Product Description

Review

One of our most respected vegetable growers . . . Now ordinary gardeners can benefit from his years of practical experience, growing great vegetables in harmony with Mother Earth. --Joy Larkcom, author of 'Grow your own vegtables'

Charles is a passionate and accomplished gardener, who grows vegetables of amazing flavour. --Raymond Blanc

From the Back Cover

In Organic Gardening, Charles Dowding shares the philosophy, tips and techniques which have enabled him to run a successful organic garden supplying local restaurants and shops for over 25 years.
Forget the rules: `received wisdom' about gardening is surprisingly inaccurate. Understand better what is going on in the soil and with your plants, in your own garden and climate, and work out your own methods instead.
Respect and encourage life as much as your can, chiefly by spreading good compost or manure.
There is no need to dig in compost and manure - just spread it on top and let worms take it in. Digging can harm soil structure, and is not helpful to plants.
You can reduce weeding to a little hand-weeding or hoeing every ten days.
Based on his experience of a system of permanent slightly raised beds, Charles takes you through a delicious variety of fruit and vegetables: what to choose, when to plant and harvest, and how best to avoid pests and diseases. The book includes recipes to inspire you to culinary heights with your fresh-picked produce.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life changing book! 1 May 2009
Format:Paperback
My husband used to spend every minute from March to May digging and re-digging his veg patch. We put in raised beds and followed Charles Dowdings advice and we have had much better veg and he now really enjoys his gardening... we have a greenhouse full of young seedlings and another exciting year in store!
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68 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must For Any Vegetable Grower 29 July 2008
Format:Paperback
This is a gardening book of the old school, one that is based on proven, tested experience and not the ususal unsubstantiated platitudes so easy to find in most books on the subject published these days.

Light on pictures and full of accurate information this is now my most valued book on vegetable growing, and would be useful to any allotment or home grower of food. In fact the book's title sells it short, as much of the book would be helpful to an organic 'digger' or even a non-organic grower.

If you grow vegetables, fruit or herbs than you should read this book.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for organic growers 22 May 2009
Format:Paperback
Everything you'll ever need to know about raised beds and no-dig organic gardening. Lots of stuff I've never read before about how important it is to grow the right veg, herb, fruit at the right time. i.e. Spring isn't always the optimum time for sowing certain varieties - which explains why some of my plants - although organically grown and given loads of TLC didn't thrive. Excellent book by someone who absolutely knows his stuff. I want to be let loose in his garden and then cook myself dinner! A must have for anyone who cares about their green footprint, wants to garden 'with' and not 'against' nature, and wants to make the most of a small area to grow the best stuff.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By E.Meredith TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My bookshelves groan with the weight of the hundreds of gardening books I have collected over the years. The lovely Monty Don, the much-missed Geoff Hamilton, RHS etc. However, Charles Dowding's latest book means I could throw them all away, as it contains every single thing I could ever need to know about the best way to grow veg and fruit.

It is written so clearly, with enormous thought put into every question you might have covered so clearly. It is never boring or tedious or long-winded. He also recommends specific varieties of veg to get, which is such a help when over-whelmed by all the choice out there. In his suppliers' appendix he mentions Delflands nursery, from whom I have ordered and their produce is superb & incredibly good value. The copper tools he mentions are a great boon & do seem to deter slugs.
Last Summer, thanks to his 1st edition of this book, my veg garden, which is 90 ft by 60 ft, was admired by all my friends & even photographed by them. More importantly, it provided plentiful food all year with far less effort & far better results than ever achieved before.
Charles Dowding also has a website with wonderful advice & he answers emailed questions personally in his generous way.

His no-dig method is both simple & brilliant. It has saved us days of back-breaking work which actually harms the soil. Bob Flowerdew also uses the no-dig method, but has not written a book as clear & comprehensive as this one.

This is not a coffee table book with arty photos of someone digging, it has clear, colour photos of step-by-step methods & the results compared with other methods in photographs. Fascinating & very convincing (& true as I have proved myself).
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read 15 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback
Charles Dowding has not dug his garden for twenty five years except to clear perennial weeds and turf. Is he mad ? Apparently not, his method of intensive and strictly no dig gardening produces astounding vegetables, if of course one can be astounded by veg !! If it takes some of the hard work out of gardening then I instantly become a fan. Time wasted needlessly churning the soil doing more harm than good can be put to better use elsewhere, drinking tea perhaps and admiring ones unused garden fork.

After a quick explanation of what exactly organic gardening is the author takes us through the basics of what to grow, whats in season, dealing with pests and disease, sowing seeds, making compost and even gardening by the moon ! Not by moonlight I might add but using the lunar calendar to predict the best times for planting crops.

He then proceeds to share information on every type of vegetable we would want to plant , and some we wouldn't ! For example with leeks we are told when to sow and harvest, what to follow with next year, the optimum spacing and details of each varieties character. The possible problems and how to combat them and also how to save the seed. We also get a tasty leek recipie ( Well I presume it's tasty ) To say the information contained therein is comprehensive would be a gross understatement, short of drawing a family tree there is no more information to give.

It's not just veg, tree fruit, berries, herbs and edible flowers are also explored and I must say a finer book will be hard to find, it's presented in a clear and coherent format and makes a fantastic reference book. This is a must read for the enthusiastic organic gardener.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a jungle out there! 25 May 2011
By Cha Cha
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thanks to this book, I have been growing fresh vegetables this year, in my back garden. I ordered 2 raised beds in february and I can't even see them anymore! I am growing peas, strawberries, tomatoes, radishes, rocket, little gems, lolo rosso (the lettuces grow brilliantly, I don't even have slugs!), parsley, coriander, spinach, pak choi (massive!), spring onions and chard! well, everything is growing lots and lots! I eat fresh lettuce nearly everyday! It's magic! Can't believe I bought lettuce wrapped in plastic before when it is so much easier to grow my own... and cheaper too!!! I am very pleased with this book, and very proud to be growing my own food! :)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Charles methods work in Tuscany
Having adopted his methods with refrense to his book winter gardening this additional refrense continues to be useful. Its wisdom we seek when gardening and thats what you get. Read more
Published 3 hours ago by robert hasbury
5.0 out of 5 stars The no dig way
Easy to understand and many useful simple but effective ideas well written almost in the form of a lecture with questions answered before they were asked (if that makes sense).
Published 21 months ago by M. J. Parker
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth buying
In my earlier review of Dowding's book on winter vegetables I was more disparaging of this book than I now think is justified. Read more
Published 22 months ago by N. Dodd
4.0 out of 5 stars Sensible Food Growing
This is a clear and very sensible guide to growing food in a more natural, less intensive and healthy way. Read more
Published 22 months ago by K. L. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
Excellent book. I bought this as a gift for my partner as we are trying to be more self sufficient and this book is certainly helping us do that! Read more
Published 23 months ago by Greenfingers1
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book with sound gardening advice.
A really brilliant book which has become my only vegetable gardening reference book. My allotment is testament to the raised bed no dig method and the lack of weeds is... Read more
Published on 11 April 2012 by G. Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars my vegetable growing bible
Charles dowdings's book is my vegetable growing bible! his holistic view of looking at the whole eco system is essential for healthy plants and working with nature, not against it... Read more
Published on 31 Jan 2012 by veggie porn
5.0 out of 5 stars Let the worms take the strain
I bought this book because I was already a convert to no-dig gardening but I wanted advice about further refinements to my own system. Read more
Published on 27 Jan 2012 by H. P. Farquharson
4.0 out of 5 stars Never digging again
Worth reading for the no dig technique, although this actually takes up a very small amount of the book as it is really quite straightforward. Read more
Published on 5 July 2011 by rachelcreative
5.0 out of 5 stars Organic Gardening the Natural No-dig Way
No matter what standard of gardener, allotment holder or just someone interested in either, then this book by Charles Dowding is an essential read. Read more
Published on 18 April 2011 by bowshie
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