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Charles Dowding

No Dig - by Charles Dowding

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Stop digging and start to truly understand the needs of your soil, for bumper harvests of healthier crops. Charles Dowding has spent a lifetime perfecting his no dig system of growing. At its core is an awareness that soil vitality is a dynamic process, involving a web of organisms which we can easily feed and support, enabling our plants to grow strong and healthy, in a weed-free environment. With clear step-by-step instructions on how to set up a no dig plot, and detailed cultivation advice for over 80 crops, this book will revolutionise the way you grow.

The book is made up of four chapters. It's full of vegetable-growing advice, as well as a latest summary of no dig.

Chapter 1 – It all begins with the soil

Discover how no dig helps the soil, and you in the garden. He explains the fundamentals, the importance of compost, why weeds don’t grow, and the extensive other benefits of no dig beds.

Chapter 2 – Getting started

He gives advice on deciding what to grow, planning your beds, controlling weeds, and the tools you may need.

He takes you through the creation of a no dig bed using cardboard and compost, then planting it on the same day in spring. We revisit it through the year.

You see how he makes compost, and he shares many ways of doing this. It’s not difficult when you understand the few key principles and methods.

Chapter 3 – The principles of growing vegetables

The bigger picture behind growing success, and the reasons why these understandings work so well. Especially in a no dig garden where soil is lively, and weeds are few.

You learn about timings of sowings, succession planting, propagation, how to sow, caring for seedlings, transplanting, spacing, watering, using crop covers, controlling slugs and snails, growing under cover, harvesting, storage and saving seed.

Chapter 4 – Vegetable and herb directory

The largest section of the book. he gives detailed information on growing over 80 of the main vegetables and herbs, categorised as follows:

  • Pea and bean family (legumes)
  • Cabbage family (brassicas)
  • Onion family (alliums)
  • Cucumber family (cucurbits)
  • Carrot family (umbellifers)
  • Beet family
  • Leafy salad crops
  • Solanums, basil, and sweetcorn
  • Perennial vegetables

For each category, he gives general information on choosing what to grow; sowing, growing and harvesting; and common problems.

Then, for each vegetable/herb within the categories, he explains in detail sowing and transplanting, care and protection, harvesting and storage, and finish with a useful summary of key growing information. He also shares his recommended varieties.

The book is beautifully illustrated throughout with photographs by the excellent Jonathan Buckley. He visited Homeacres on 12 days over the course of 2021, capturing the growth and methods of each season, and the beauty of my vegetable garden.

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review

All arrived in perfect condition. I haven't had a chance to read yet, though.

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    Cornflour (74.5%), sunflower oil, chilli mix (4%) (salt, paprika, garlic, onion, sugar, coriander, chilli, fenugreek, lovage).
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    Cornflour* (77%), sunflower oil*, sea salt (0.8%)
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    × Ingredients:
    Wheat flour (66%), water, rapeseed oil, cane sugar, sea salt, maltodextrin, glucose syrup, acidifier: lactic acid, rice extract, raising agent: sodium hydrogen carbonate, spices.
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    Water, Corn Starch*, Natural Rice Sourdough* (Rice Flour*, Water), Millet Flakes*, Linseed Flour*, Sunflower Oil*, Corn Flour*, Rice Flour*, Psyllium Seed Husks*, Pea Protein, Dextrose*, Sea Salt, Yeast*, Thickener: Guar Gum*, Xanthan Gum, Spices* *= Certified Organic Ingredients