Thinking ahead for next year, it’s great to see what courses are out there that can add to your gardening knowledge. I’ve been intrigued for a while now about the ‘No dig’ system of gardening, where soil is improved by adding compost every year to beds but without digging it in. My back supports this idea very much as all the hard work is done by worms gradually working the compost into the soil. No digging also retains the structure of the soil and if you can add a couple of inches of compost each year, will help to reduce weeds too. Charles Dowding (above) is a great advocate of ‘No dig’ gardening and has been operating a successful veg growing business for twenty-nine years using this system. I’m hoping to attend one of his courses running at Great Dixter in February next year. As well as books about ‘No dig’ gardening, he’s also written about salad leaves for all seasons, and so ‘participants will also learn about the importance of sowing at the best time of year for each vegetable crop, to help minimise pests and maximise yield, and there’ ll also be the opportunity for discussion about planting by the moon and biodynamics’. Planting by the moon -another topic that I’ve always meant to investigate (but often wondered if planting by the moon would be possible with my sometimes rigid gardening schedule), so I’m really looking forward to attending the course and learning from an expert in his field.
If you can’t make the course in February, there are many courses at Great Dixter (above) throughout the year that will tempt you and Charles Dowding also runs courses from his farm in Somerset which are booking now for spring next year.
West Dean Gardens, nr Chichester in W.Sussex are offering some really interesting gardening courses for next year including ‘Training trees and shrubs’, ‘Designing your own garden’ and ‘The organic kitchen garden’ (and lots more), and it’s worth keeping an eye on The Garden Museum in London too as they’ll be introducing more talks and events for 2012 soon.