Charles Dowding is a veteran organic grower, having practised no-dig gardening for 30 years. From 1982 to 1990 he grew on nine acres for local and London markets, then ran a small farm in France, followed by a long spell of producing salad on an acre of surface-composted, undisturbed clay soil (no-dig for 15 years), which grew bountiful crops and few weeds, and included two polytunnels for winter salad and summer tomatoes and basil. In this garden he ran an experiment for six years to compare differences in growth between vegetables on dug and undug soil. He discovered different patterns of growth in most seasons, with slightly lower yields and more weeds and slugs on the dug beds. He is currently establishing a new half-acre garden to illustrate no-dig practice and form the basis for a new experiment.
Charles has written four books on vegetable growing, contributes articles to many magazines, including Gardeners’ World, Gardens Illustrated and Grow It!, gives regular talks, advises many gardeners on best practice, including the National Trust at Sissinghurst, and runs day courses at home and other venues. He has appeared on radio and television, including Radio 4’s The Long View on the Peckham Experiment and BBC TV’s Gardeners’ World with Sarah Raven in 2008.
His books for Green Books are:
Find out more at www.charlesdowding.co.uk.
Photo: Stephanie Hafferty