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.
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.