Talk – No Dig at Wimborne, Dorset
September 25 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
For Dorset Group of Hardy Plant Society, and visitors who buy tickets on the door. No advance reservations.
The above is a link to The Society’s website page for speaker events. There is then a link to Group info which shows a map and postcode.
The meeting is open to all, not just HPS members. Visitors entry is £3.50. Doors will open at 7.00pm (may be a bit earlier if safe to do so). There are no tickets or reservations. Arrive early if you can.
An illustrated, 80 minute talk on how to have healthy soil and enjoy easier harvests, followed by questions and answers.
How to make, buy and use compost of different kinds.
How to clear perennial weeds with mulches, including couch grass and bindweed.
How to maintain a no dig plot, with an annual mulch of compost.
See photos of the trials I run to compare the effects on growth of dig/no dig, different composts and no rotation.
As well as reducing the time and effort needed to cultivate and weed, no dig has many other benefits, which I explain. Plus I bring a selection of my nine books, signed and for sale.
Most soil already has a good structure for plant roots to grow, and is full of growth-enabling organisms. Millions of fungal threads, nematodes and earthworms, to name a few, are being helpful right under our feet, mostly out of sight. We need to help them to help us.
You have already started no dig without knowing! Since the last time you dug or tilled or forked your soil, it has been healing itself, with networks of fungi, breeding of health-bringing organisms and recreation of a stable structure. Simply build on that, it’s easy to created good structure and drainage, plus there are unexpected benefits.
Advantages of no dig
- Weeds germinate less. 1) because their seeds are not exposed to light during cultivation, 2) because organic matter on the surface (instead of dug in) is a weed suppressing mulch, both physically and through encouragement of fungi near the surface, 3) because undisturbed soil does not need to recover.
- Mycorrhizal fungi stay intact, then help plant roots to find more nutrients and extract more moisture, because they are smaller than roots and can reach into tiny crevices.
- You have access in wet weather because drainage is good: the soil’s structure has not been broken by tools or machinery, water runs away and you can garden when you need to. Mud does not stick to your boots!
- You can quickly resow or replant at any time of year, with no soil preparation needed. Simply twist out plants when you clear a preceding crop to leave most roots in the soil, and remove any surface debris.
- Moisture is retained and is available to considerable depth, because there is no ‘shatter zone’ caused by cultivations.
- Warmth is retained by soil in winter because deep-level warmth can rise, unhindered by damage from cultivations: my gardens have always been admired for their early harvests.
- Carbon stays in the soil rather than being converted to CO2 by oxidation after cultivations.
I started this method four years ago and I wish Id known about it decades earlier. We had just bought a big rototiller to start all of our beds before I discovered no dig and ended up selling it. This method works very very well and for very little effort or money.
Fantastic Value is the comment I heard over and over again by attendees of your Nottingham talk. Thank you for giving us such a fulsome and lengthly talk with lovely photos
I have learned so much from watching your videos. You’re an excellent teacher — concise and generous at the same time. You helped rekindle my love of growing food. Thank you!
I can’t stop watching these videos. Far better than any gardening programme on television. Now I just need to get a garden of my own!
I started no dig after coming across Charles’ You Tube videos and deciding to give the weed supression “hocus pocus” a go with some well rotted compost I had. I spread this on some rose beds and another flower bed that would take me a total of about 3 hours to weed once a month, prolific deep weeds on a heavy clay base. I could not believe the results. Weeds did come up but 15 mins of hoeing and all gone and now hardly any….plus the roses and plants looked the best they have for seven years. I was totally bitten!!!
“Many thanks for making the journey to Sheffield last week, and providing such a fantastic and stimulating talk for our audience. Everyone loved it!”
Gareth Roberts of Regather
Sheffield’s Festival of Debate Talk Attendee
“Charles has become the guru of no dig gardening. He’s a really good grower, organic, has fabulous produce and we went down to Somerset to see how he does it…. I’m a convert now, I want to dig as little as possible.”
BBC Gardeners World
I came on a course last August, and it has given me so much direction and understanding in my gardening thinking. And your updates through the winter are an absolute tonic.
@charles_dowding has changed my life! I tried for so many years to grow veg, read loads of books and just made a lot of slugs very happy. In 2016 I decided to give it one last try before packing it in. I religiously followed his book, sticking to exactly the varieties he recommended. I followed his sowing times on the monthly Newsletter and the difference in what I can grow has been phenomenal! Having regular pickings of salads like this at this time of year used to be a far off dream!
Kat Hall (@there.she.grows)
Cannon Hill Rd