Charles’ Books

Charles’ wealth of growing experience has been captured across a range of books published by Green Books,  Frances Lincoln, Permanent Publications and No Dig Garden, Charles’ own imprint. You can purchase books through the online store.

No Dig Organic Home and Garden

This book is half Charles, half Stephanie Hafferty his partner.

He takes you through the soil preparation and growing, compost making, seed saving, and trading/selling.

Steph adds to this and then reveals some of her famous recipes for vegetables of all different seasons. Plus she covers potion making from garden produce, growing edible flowers and preparing food to store.

Although I have been gardening professionally for 45 years, I found this book enlightening, thought provoking and immensely practical in equal measure. I am confident that if this were the first volume to grace the shelves of a gardening novice, it would be equally stimulating and useful, and would ensure a smooth start to a growing life. It does exactly what the title suggests it will do, and does it with clarity, humour and immense practicality.

RHS review in The Garden November 2017, by Jim Buckland of West Dean Gardens, Sussex

Charles Dowding’s Vegetable Garden Diary

Charles, Steph selling diaries, just after first print

As well as being a perennial diary, this book has 120 pages of superb advice on growing and harvesting food, quickly and efficiently. It is the distillation of Charles’ life experience to this point (2016), is lavishly illustrated, and concentrates on saving time by doing your jobs at the best time.

Timely reminders all through the year will keep you on track for the best harvests yet.

And it’s not all about sowing times: there are best dates and methods for hoeing, harvesting, storing and feeding your soil.

It’s always good to have a reminder of what the main gardening tasks are month by month. But this diary does more than that. Even though I have been gardening for decades I can dive into this book and pick up gems of information never before encountered. Charles is a truly good gardener with an amazing willingness to share his knowledge.

Lynn on Amazon, June 2017



How to create a New Vegetable Garden – Producing a beautiful and fruitful garden from scratch

How to create a New Vegetable Garden Producing a beautiful and fruitful garden from scratchIn this book I distil years of experience, to show how easy it is to start a new vegetable garden.  Any plot — whether a building site, overgrown with weeds  or unwanted lawn — can be turned into a beautiful and productive vegetable area.  The methodical advice is a great starting point for both beginners and experienced gardeners.

The book takes you step-by-step through:

* Planning and early stages
* Clearing the ground
* Mulch – what, why, how?
* Minimizing digging
* Sowing and planting across the seasons
* Growing in polytunnels and greenhouses

This book carries much of Charles’s personality with it:
he is meticulous, open and frank in communicating pros and cons, and thorough, rigorous and entertaining.

Mark Diacono, Gardens Illustrated February 2015

Just to say I LOVE your latest book. I’ve always appreciated the number of photos and simple explanations you use but this one, maybe because I’m a no dig mulcher from way back, ticked all the boxes for me!

Jan Lewis, New Zealand 2015


Gardening Myths and Misconceptions

Untitled-3Conventional wisdom is difficult to question, even when it is misguided and contains many contradictions. Gardening has its share of such ‘myths’ – some with discernible origins in history, others that have become established for no obvious reason – and they often obscure simpler and easier methods of working. This delightfully illustrated book reveals how common sense triumphs and crops are more successful when these ‘rules’ are overturned.

A fascinating but practical book that will save the seasoned gardener time and give new gardeners heart.

“These days, garden writing based on a solid career’s worth of practical experience is rare indeed. Therein lies the value of this thought-provoking little book.”

Rory Dusoir, Gardens Illustrated[clearboth]

OK, you can stop washing those pots _ The Sunday Times

Charles Dowding’s Veg Journal

Charles Dowding's Veg JournalPlan bumper harvests the no-dig way using Charles Dowding’s monthly crop calendar. Follow simple steps to:

  • Find success with more than 35 vegetables and herbs from tomatoes to basil, carrots to coriander;
  • Start a no-dig veg plot on virgin or dug ground, improve the soil and become an expert mulcher and weeder;
  • Learn key dates for sowing, staking, harvesting and storing using time-saving monthly checklists;
  • Make a raised bed, tackle slugs and snails, and produce the sweetest-smelling compost;
  • Understand the techniques for intercropping, companion planting, seed viability and crop succession.

“This is a sensible and very clearly presented book for those who want to tackle the art of no-dig gardening without being bamboozled by jargon. You will definitely have a clear understanding of the technique after following this guide through the year”

English Garden[clearboth]

Organic Gardening
The natural no-dig way

Cover Organic Gardening no dig, Charles Dowding
New cover Organic Gardening No Dig 2018

In this new full-colour edition of Organic Gardening, Charles Dowding shares the wealth of his experience, explaining his approach to soil and plants and revealing the range of techniques that have enabled him to grow healthy and vibrant crops for decades.

Based on this approach and his experience of a system of permanent, slightly raised beds, Charles shows you how to grow a delicious variety of fruit and vegetables: what to choose, when to sow, plant and harvest, and how best to avoid pests and diseases.

This book should be the first gardening book gardeners should refer to from their book shelves, an inspiration to the way we grow food at Hilltown today and an inspiration to so many others, and  now a household name. Follow the principles of Charles Dowding no dig method, don’t disturb or compact the soil, feed the soil not the plant, keep the soil covered at all times and you will have great soil, healthy crops, few weeds, few pests, good soil structure, better yields.

Martin Godfrey on Facebook, 28/08/18

Charles Dowding’s Vegetable Course

Charles Dowding's Vegetable CourseCharles Dowding, the master of no-dig gardening, developed his highly successful methods of vegetable growing through 30 years experience of growing and selling vegetables and extensive experiments. Through his courses at Lower Farm in Somerset and his three previous books, he has won a keen following. Beginners and experienced veg growers alike find that his methods work and that he opens their minds to new possibilities. Now he has distilled the essence of his courses and ideas into one book. In it you will find out how to grow vegetables the Charles Dowding way. Charles Dowding’s Vegetable Course is both a straightforward guide to success and an inspiring source of ideas for achieving a more productive vegetable garden for less effort.

“Charles Dowding is my hero: his no-dig approach to growing has saved me hours of back-breaking work and improved my techniques no end. His tried and tested advice has been proven from years of successful veg production and it’s easy to see from the health and vitality of his plants that htis approach really works.”

Jane Perrone, The Guardian Gardening Blog[clearboth]

How to Grow Winter Vegetables

Book cover Winter Vegetables Charles Dowding
Cover Winter Vegetables

How to Grow Winter Vegetables shows that it is possible to enjoy an abundance of vegetables at the darkest time of year, whether stored or ready for harvesting when needed. It also covers growing for the ‘hungry gap’ from April to early June.


Not much grows in winter, but a well-organised plot may nonetheless be quite full. You need to plan carefully, and well ahead (as early as spring) for sowing and planting at specific times through the year, so the main part of the book is an extensive month-by-month sowing, planting and growing calendar. Further sections cover harvesting, from garlic in July right through to the last of the overwintered greens in May, and storing your produce.

Many salads can be grown in winter, especially with a little protection from fleece, cloches or larger structures. The book includes a whole section on frost-hardy salad plants, explaining how to ensure harvests of fresh leaves throughout winter. The beauty of winter and its produce is captured in glorious photographs from the author’s garden.

Your Winter Growing book arrived and I had no idea it would be filled with such beautiful photos and with such high quality print. I encourage everyone who enjoys Charles wonderful channel to definitely purchase his books, they are magnificent and a wonderful way to thank him for all his work.

Bloodlinemedia on You Tube October 2018

“Whether you have years of gardening experience or are just at the novice stage there is so much to learn from this excellent book. It is a very well illustrated book with some wonderful colour photographs and will make an excellent reference book in your gardening library.”

Smallholder – September 2011[clearboth]

Salad Leaves for All Seasons
Organic Growing from Pot to Plot

Book cover Salad Leaves Charles Dowding
Cover of Salad Leaves book 2nd edition 2018

With a new chapter of recipes by Stephanie Hafferty, see also her book The Creative Kitchen.

This book is now all colour and rewritten throughout with new ideas and advice.

  • Currently available as the new 2018 edition, in hardback only.

Small is beautiful, less is more; a salad a day but not the supermarket way. This compendium of practical methods for growing a wide variety of salads throughout the year, will inspire you to grow your own, whether on a windowsill, on a patio, in your garden or on the allotment.

Learn the subtleties of salad seasons and virtues of different leaves throughout the year. And when your table is groaning with the abundance of your harvests, there are Steph’s delicious and imaginative recipes to bring out the fantastic flavours, colour and vitality of home-grown salad leaves.

“The most comprehensive book to be produced on salads that I have ever read. As a professional salad grower for 7 years I am still learning from his 25 years experience and methodical and compelling research and experimentation. There is so much information packed into it that I go back and back to it. That being said, a complete novice could buy this book and never have to buy a packet of miserable tasteless leaves from a supermarket again.”

J. Billington, Amazon Review[clearboth]

11 thoughts on “Charles’ Books

  1. Hi Charles,
    I am an avid watcher of your videos and have your No Dig organic home and garden book. We are just about to embark on our first year of growing vegetables and have 6 large raised (no dig) beds (5m x 1m), a greenhouse plus plenty of space for growing herbs etc. We have all our seeds ready and organised but the thing we are struggling with is how many seeds to allow for each vegetable to feed two adults and how much space these will need when planting them. We are trying to work out a plan (without using computer programmes to do it) and wondered if any of your other books going into detail on this? Any recommendations on books/resources would be much appreciated.
    Thanks, Sam 😊

    1. Hi Sam, Nice to hear, and that is one piece of advice I do not try to impart because it’s such personal information, everybody eats a different amount of everything. Also in different gardens harvest amounts vary. So you need to try many things and take some notes

      1. Many thanks Charles – that makes complete sense.
        We will have fun experimenting with this ourselves – all part of the process!
        Best wishes, Sam

  2. I live no very from Homeacres, in Lamyatt, so we probably share the same climate if not soil type. I have followed you advice on growing globe artichokes ( all your books are marvellously lucid) , and I grew from seed a number of Violetto artichokes last year; this year they have grown away with abandon, and are over 6 foot tall, but the chokes which began to appear about 3 weeks ago are all small and spiky. I must be doing something wrong.

    1. Hi Andrew, nice to hear except for the globes!
      One thing could be the lack of rain.
      But most likely is the seed selection, which sounds more like cardoon. It sounds like a poor variety, or poorly maintained, and it’s a reason why mostly artichokes are grown from root cuttings, in late autumn.
      I have had success from seed, but there is a risk element. I hope to be proved wrong.

  3. Hello from South Carolina! Similar question to above, so my apologies: which one book would you start with to use as guidebook on building, maintaining, sowing and transplanting into a no dig garden, etc? I have a good bit of experience with traditional gardening but not no dig, compost heavy beds. I have started four, 20ft rows based on your videos and am excited to get going! If the recommendations in light of this are still ‘Diary,’ ‘Veg Journal,’ or ‘No Dig Organic Home,’ sorry for the repeat.
    Many thanks!

  4. Hi Charles, we have moved to France (limousin) and want to grow veg on our 2 acre plot. Is there a book from your time in France?

    1. Haha no. I wrote the first one 8 years after moving back.
      Similar principles, sow maybe two weeks earlier in spring, two weeks later from July.
      Bonne courage 🙂

  5. Hi I have just built tree raised beds not yet filled I am a new gardener which book should I start with
    Many thanks

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