Archive for the ‘No dig’ Category

Charles Dowding at Homeacres Back in spring last year I went to visit Charles Dowding on his well-established ‘No Dig’ farm in Somerset. I’d read his books on ‘No Dig’ gardening, packed full of useful advice and information, but it was wonderful to see first hand how well his vegetables (and fruit) were growing on soil that had never been dug over.

However, this year Charles has moved a few miles away to a new farm, Homeacres, and I popped by recently to see how all was progressing. I was amazed to see how well everything is growing only months after creating his new beds.

Charles has used a 50:50 mixture of well-rotted manure (broken down over about 18 months) and the council’s recycled green waste compost to grow in, building up the new beds on top of grass to approximately 6 inches high. These new areas have been contained and defined using scaffolding boards and netting has been used to keep off pesky badgers.

Charles admits that it takes a lot of effort to initially build up the fertility of his soil, and luckily he had a plentiful supply of well-rotted manure from his previous farm. He keeps a sharp eye on perennial weeds, such as couch grass, thistles, bind weed and buttercups, pulling these out  as they pop up through the newly composted beds, and eventually these will be weakened enough not to return. Charles Dowding in his greenhouse Apart from a few experimental areas, all his new beds (outside and in his greenhouse) are ‘No Dig’, never once disturbing the structure of the soil beneath the beds, and his lettuces and other veg have been growing impressively well this spring and summer. (more…)

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