No Dig Champion Charles Dowding

In this episode of Dig It, Peter Brown and Chris Day chat with Charles Dowding, a leading champion of no-dig gardening. Not only does he have a huge following, but his advice is born out of more than 40 years of growing, analysing, comparing, and recommending. We learn about the process of his No Dig philosophy from soil preparation, weed control, plant nutrition and how this method could work for you.

No Dig pointers: Bed sizes: 1.2m (4ft) wide beds and any length to suite your garden size. Adding 1in of compost to the beds per year. Practise intercropping and successional plantings to maximise your cropping space. No crop rotation is necessary by having good, healthy soil. Do have weed-free pathways between your crops. Pathways between beds need to be around 40cm (16 inches) wide and again use cardboard and wood chip. Think about the orientation of your beds and if necessary, run them up and down if your site slopes. Be realistic - start small to stay in control so you can enjoy it and have fun growing. Making a bed in winter is usually best. Compost on clay soils work well with No Dig. Weeding ‘little and often’ is key to avoid weeds going to seed.

Plant mentions: Garlic, Broccoli, Beetroot, Brussel sprout ‘Evesham Special’, Onions, Carrots, Kale, Potato varieties ‘Nicola’ and ‘Charlotte’. Weeds - dandelions, chickweed, couch grass, bindweed, mare’s tail and groundsel.

Product mentions: A dibber or trowel, horticultural fleece or Enviromesh coverage, cardboard, mushroom compost, home compost, green waste compost, animal manures and wood chip. Hoes, compost bins (Dalek type) as well as home-made pallet compost. Coffee grounds, rock dust, charcoal and wood ash used sparingly make good compost additives.

Professor Elaine Ingham is an American microbiologist and soil biology researcher and founder of Soil Foodweb Inc. She is known as a leader in soil microbiology and research of the soil food web.

Dr Shewell-Cooper MBE, was a British organic gardener, a pioneer of no-dig gardening and a prolific writer of 37 gardening books!

Charles Dowding’s website, courses videos and books

Socials Twitter @charlesdowding Facebook @CharlesDowdingNoDig Instagram charles_dowding

Our thanks to Chiltern Music Therapy for providing the music.

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