Compost heaps of pallets simply wired together, no stakes

July 2021 no dig potatoes, succession plantings, make compost, save seeds, RHS no dig gardens, bees arrive

A growing month, was June. Even though quite dry, with mm in the first four weeks. Average day temperature 21C 70F, average night temperature 10.5C 10F, see my live weather feed. We are fortunate with the weather here and I hope that, wherever you are, the extremes are not too difficult. The Pacific Northwest looks pretty uncomfortable just now!

In this climate we struggle for enough heat to ripen tomatoes outside, even undercover sometimes! Yet the temperatures are fantastic for brassicas, and usually there is enough warmth to dry onions well, ahead of winter. We have rain quite often,, so it’s feasible to water by hand, especially thanks to the moisture conservation of no dig. So far in June, 48mm/1.9in.

This week we have made and posted two new videos, one about the Small Garden, and one about the new land. Both show the incredible growth of recent weeks, and how no dig can transform weeds to a fine garden. See my no dig course book, at a discounted price.

When to harvest potatoes

It’s your call! If all the leaves are still green, even if you have not seen flowers, you can pull themfor a harvest of small potatoes with sweeter taste. Leave them two weeks and the harvest will be much bigger, with more average flavour, still good.

On my two trials beds I am growing Vivaldi, which was listed as a first early. Then someone said it’s the second early! And I am now inclined to agree with the latter, which reveals how there is a lack of precision in the timing of harvest.

Potatoes  Vivaldi, each number is kg potatoes from the harvest of one plant, in the same bed:

14th June   0.31 

17th June   0.43

27th June   1.68

In my trial beds the potatoes from the dig bed are larger, so far. We shall harvest more this week, always interesting. For no dig potatoes, simply grasp all the stems and pull gently upwards.

Second lettuce plantings, summer successions

After the cold spring and with weather worries in my head, I sowed lettuce for summer earlier than last year, by five days. Then in the warm June conditions they grew beautifully fast!
Fortunately we found time to transplant most of them on 18th June, at three weeks old. My CD 60 module trays work very well for such small transplants. The process is rapid, they transplant easily and quickly, and they establish really well, and fast. Already they look strong and 99% of plants have survived the transplanting.

There is never any need to wash or clean the trays, before reuse. Some of mine are already on the third round this year of growing transplants. I explain all about propagation in module 4 of online course 2.

Onions, shallots, spring onions

These all look similar when starting to grow, then as they mature you spot the differences. The shallots are starting to divide a little. And I am interested how their vigour has been fantastic, with larger leaves so far than the onions.

The salad onions have longer stems, and less tendency to bulb than onions. Mine are White Lisbon, which do make bulbs in the end, but I hope to sell them first as spring onions.

Saving seed

It’s easier to save seed of some vegetables than others, see my video. Ones which give least difficulties are tomatoes, French beans, peas and lettuce/endive. All of these can be saved from just one plant, like that endive which is overshadowing the aubergine. That is one important point about seed saving, how plants often grow much larger than the original.

Root vegetables are biennial, so you select some desirable roots to transplant in March, and the photos show growth so far. In our damp climate, the August harvests could be tricky, we shall see. There is a mesh cover for the carrots, so that insects do not cross pollinate them with wild carrot/cow parsley which is common in the hedgerows here.

Growing under cover

We are at the time of maximum growth and these plants all need a lot of attention! Here we have had little heat, yet the melons are loving life under cover. They need twisting around the strings every three days or so, and I pinch out all sideshoots until they are about 3 ft/1 m high. Melons grow in the first node of a sideshoot, see lesson 29 for all those details.

I grow the tomatoes (lesson 30) without any feeding. We spread compost in May, for a year of cropping.

Making compost, pallet heaps

I am trying a few different ways of making compost heaps, and of bringing fertility onto this land. For the latter, we are building up a stock of woodchips, some for use much later, as compost equivalent I hope.

The two pallet bins have an equal sized gap in the middle, to which we shall add sides and can then turn compost from either side into it. The cardboard does not run under the heaps, it’s just to keep the edges reasonably free of bind weed, thistles and nettles.

We fill the heaps until full, takes 5-10 weeks depending how much material comes available. Turn them 4-8 weeks after finishing. Learn more details from Module 5 of my first online course.

Bees arrive at Homeacres

Big excitement! I ordered three hives from the Black Bee company, a few months ago. They were bred and the colonies built up on Exmoor, Buckfast bees. Paul is on the left, with Briony who is also looking after them.

They are active, and I feel a buzz when checking them every day!

RHS no dig, Wisley and Hampton Court

Over many years, I have much enjoyed working with Sheila Das, who manages the edible garden at RHS Wisley. They have invested massively in a new space to demonstrate lots of ways you can grow food.

Sheila appreciates no dig and has worked it into the design. This garden opened on 24th June, and I can’t wait to visit!

Before that can happen, I shall be at Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, from 5th to 11th of June. Together with Steph Hafferty, I designed the RHS No-Dig allotment. It’s one of the three ‘key’ gardens there. Every day, there are no dig talks, see this schedule.

Because of Covid, tickets are limited. Also we have to be tested before entry, so I hope to test negative!

Flowers so nice now

Such a lovely time for this flowery abundance! They are mostly perennials, plus the self sown calendula marigolds and foxgloves/digitalis.

 

 

73 thoughts on “July 2021 no dig potatoes, succession plantings, make compost, save seeds, RHS no dig gardens, bees arrive

  1. I have started a no dig allotment this year and although I put on compost before planting 2nd early Charlotte potatoes I had to dig them up with a fork. Is this normal for the first year, or how many years do I have to spread compost before I can pull them up as shown on your video.
    Is there a minimum amount of compost I should spread before planting?
    The area for my potatoes is about 25ft x 10ft I grow them for myself and also a local charity who provide meals for the homeless

    Derek

    1. Hi Derek, it depends how thick a layer of compost you have there, how soft the soil was/is, and how deep you planted the seed potatoes.
      Potatoes don’t usually develop in firm, undisturbed soil, unless it’s sandy.
      Here I fond 4in compost on the heavy silt soil is enough to hold the tubers, for pulling out.

  2. Hi Charles
    We are growing two types of cucumbers in our polytunnel – white wonder and market more. The first few harvests from both were delicious but the later white wonder fruits are extremely bitter. And now we are finding a few mildly bitter marketmores. Both are producing prodigious amounts of fruit but nothing we do eliminates the bitterness and some of us get stomach ache if we do eat them. We have watered regularly and evenly and I can’t see any cause of stress to the plants. The tomatoes they are growing alongside in the exact same conditions are doing brilliantly. Is there anything we can do to save the remaining crop which will likely be huge? Thanks so much
    Venetia

  3. Dear Gardenfriends,
    my vegetablegarden of 600m2 is on a slope, the beds are horizontal to it. Since ten years I don’t dig it, since one year I mulch it with compost, the harvest has doubled this year. We are in the middle of the flood catastrophy in the Eifel in Germany, not victimes, but very involved.
    During the horrible rain last wednesday ALL the compost stayed on the beds, only one sunflower fell down. Its incredible, because all around you see the soil has swum away. Its really incredible and helps so much, to have so much food. Thank you Charles, last spring I studies over weeks your Onlinecourse 2 and I’m so glad, to always have access to this gardenwisdom on your webside and videos..
    Heartly greetings to everybody
    Marietheres

    1. Hello Marietheres
      I am so happy to read this! Even if also I’m not happy to hear of your weather difficulties. It has been frightening to read about it in our media.
      What great news though that your garden soil is not damaged, and the compost is still there. I hope that many people will copy what they see in your garden!
      Plus I should be grateful if you could post something like this as a review on the online course product page?

  4. Potatoes. Horror of horrors. Discovered nibbled potatoes on the surface so started harvesting my Charlotte. Reasonable crop but some nibbled ones underground too. I suspect rats or voles.

    Harvesting is not that easy. Time consuming scrabbling around in the soil to find all the crop. Does anyone have a helpful tip to resolve this please?

  5. Charles re harvesting potatoes. I have been happily harvesting Charlottes for the last week or so but today suddenly noticed blight on them and my main crops. I have cut the haulms down on everything as you suggest and have harvested most of the Charlottes which are all unaffected and we will just have to eat lots of potatoes this week as I do not think they can be stored. But I am worried about my maincrops, Desiree and Ratte. Will the tubers grow on with no haulms? Should I check the tubers now? Or should I just compost them? Thanks.

    1. Hi Kate, they should be fine! If you only just noticed the blight, it will not have had time to travel down through the sap to the tubers/potatoes. I would harvest after two or three days, by which time any blight spores will have cooked in the sun and you should be fine to harvest and store. Just keep an eye on them in store.

      1. Thank you so much. Boiling hot here in Broadwindsor but have just dug them up and so pleased I did as there were a few rotten ( horrid stench). They are drying in the sun now. Thank you so much. Now have a spare raised bed though!

  6. We have grown Vivaldi potato for many years, sold by Albert Bartlett as second early/early main crop they are the best baked potato by far. Normally we leave for 20 weeks before digging up to make large tubers, but as a check against slug damage in these very wet conditions we dug up one row today. The results are impressive all this rain has produced large tubers at 13 weeks, maybe we will have to dig up the rest of the crop a lot earlier than the full 20 weeks as they will be too big! There was no slug damage which is good news..

  7. I am very happy to be a reader of this site. There are some experienced writes who writes exciting blog about gardening. I have already started my garden making procedure. Thanks for sharing like this important article

  8. It was 46 degrees Celsius here in Southern British Columbia on the date of your post, and I wanted to tell you that No Dig is heat proof! I adopted your method last fall, and was enjoying my best garden ever when we were hit with a week of extreme temperatures that decimated local crops. Friends and local farmers tell me daily of their losses, but I have none. All my vegetables are growing in full sun beds on top of sandy soil and they not only survived the record heatwave, they thrived. I tell anyone who will listen about my experience and encourage them to visit your site and try No Dig. Thank you so much for sharing your methods and insights!

    1. Hello Susan.
      This is wonderful to hear and thanks for sharing such good news.
      46C is 10C more than I have ever experienced so it really helps to know this, plus you are on sandy soil. I imagine you were watering more than normal, and I’m happy that your plants thrived as well as survived.
      I am currently promoting no dig at a show in London, and there is huge interest.

  9. Charles – Thank you very much for your inspirational videos and blog – I have been trying module planting this year and have renewed my efforts to make decent compost so I can try no-dig in the future.
    My main issue is poor fruit set for marrows, courgettes and two types of squash due to lack of male flowers. (I had the same problem last year and only found information about lack of female flowers at the start of the season.) What could cause lack of male flowers? I just get numerous tiny fruit which soon fall off and I can’t even try hand pollination because I’ve got no source of pollen. The plants are big and healthy-looking. Any advice from anyone would be gratefully received!

    1. I had the same problem this year with my zucchini (courgette). Nearly all female flowers, only 2-3 squashes fertilized.

      1. I’ve now purchased a small marrow plant from my local garden centre. It would have been a waste of money if I was hoping for marrows from it, but it has plenty of male buds so I am using that to at least pollinate my all-female marrows. The squash have now turned to all-male!

  10. What date do you have marked for your Charlotte harvest this year? The recent wind has blown over the stems of most of mine and I decided to harvest a plant to see what state they were in and there were about 30 between marble and chicken egg size, so clearly needed longer. Might have to earth them up as best I can and wait 2 weeks.

    1. By mid July I hope. Sooner if blight arrives. Am in London just now and wish I could have a look.

  11. Weeds…
    Years ago I visited Ryton Gardens where they were demonstrating using clover as ground cover to prevent weeds under sweet corn. I have had a lot of clover grow naturally under my sweet corn which I am not pulling out at the moment. Has anyone got thoughts or experiences of this. Is it a good idea to keep the clover for now?

    1. Thanks for reminding me about clover around sweet corn. I tried this a few years ago on my allotment, the sweet corn was very good.
      I grow white clover along a fence edge of my veg garden as there are some tree stumps there, it keeps most weeds at bay, the bees like it. It does need trimming to stop it spreading so as it has just stopped raining I will go and transplant some around the sweet corn.
      Very interesting blog, I am trying no dig for the first time after reading an article about Charles and his garden in the RHS magazine.

  12. Hi Charles,
    Checked my latest carrot seedlings (at cotyledon stage / under mash) this am – and noticed a row had several sections approx. 20 cm long that had been grazed last night – evidence being the remaining seedling stem was still visible. Suspecting a slug or more, this evening (at 11.00 pm, in the rain that has been falling for the last hour), I ventured out to see what was active. No slugs but two adult frogs obviously patrolling the edge of the bed (good! – there again, maybe a sign that slugs are present. What did make me smile were the number of worms stretching out of their burrows. Shining the lamp on them caused a number to rapidly retract, others happily continued with their nocturnal way. The number being easily one per 20cm * 20cm of the bed. Considering it is a new “No dig” creation this season – I am well pleased. Several rapidly moving centipedes and spiders. Amazing what can be seen on a damp night on a “No dig” veg. patch! Many regards, Peter.

  13. After a bad experience with suspected pyralid affected organic compost last year, I have tried using peat free compost for the first time this year for all my potted tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Whilst the potted on plants seem to be doing OK in Sylva multi purpose peat free, they had a bad start as seedlings in the Sylva Seed Compost – all of the seedlings became very yellow and are only just starting to green up after a month in the multi purpose. Has anyone else had this experience? I think I will use my own sieved compost and leaf mould mixture for seedlings next year.

    1. I had the same experience with dylvagrow compost. Seedlings failed to thrive…tomatoes and all brassica and flowers including Marigolds cosmos nasturtiums. Many were lost but some were transplanted to multi purpose and recovered.

    2. Naughty Melcourt, many have said similar – but also, many of their composts are good. There is no way of knowing until you use them, not a good situation

      1. I’m depressed and saddened to report that it now looks as though I have signs of pyralid damage on my tomatoes. I began to worry when I could smell manure when opening up the tunnel. Now plants in larger pots of compost are shrivelling at the top. My cucumbers and peppers are growing extremely slowly and all have yellowish rather than deep green leaves. I will be contacting Melcourt, and the RHS, to report this but wonder if anyone else has had this experience.

        1. Also using Melcourt growing media – Sylvamix Natural.
          Initally thought that I was getting the watering wrong but after reading other comments I realised that may not be so.
          It’s a particular issue with brassica seedlings.
          Hopefully next year I may be able to compensate any deficiencies with a tea made from the compost of my ‘first time’ Johnson Su bioreactor!!!!
          By the way Charles your an absolute star. Some people use knowledge as a power lever but you are prepared to share it and pass it on. Thank you.
          Started No Dig last year after watching you on YouTube – sold the rotavator and haven’t looked back – absolutely wowed by the abundance and quality of harvest.
          Thank you so much!!!!

          1. Hi Geoff
            Thanks for your comment. Sharing is best for sure.
            I certainly noticed so many of us blame ourselves, for the failures of poor products, and that’s certainly true for potting compost. I shall be impressed however if your Johnson Sue Compost is ready in time, and hope to be proved wrong!
            I have two set-ups going at the moment, but think the woodchips may have been a little too large.

  14. I have been enjoying learning from your books, blogs and videos since about February this year. I wanted to say thank you, as it has transformed my allotment and my methods this year!
    First I did not dig this spring, just coverered my beds in compost. I am keeping on top of my bindweed, also now happy to put it on my compost heap which saves alot of messing about keeping it seperate. But best of all, today I experienced immediately replanting a bed after clearing it! I cleared my mangetout crop – multi-sown in Feb, planted under fleece in March for shoots but then left for pods. My best mangetout crop ever. Then straight away I have dibbed in my leeks. The gone-over mangetout are now in the freezer in the form of soup.

    1. Thanks for this lovely feedback Helen.
      It’s always gratifying for me to hear that people can use this advice so productively, and save so much time as well.

      1. Just want to echo this statement. First time growing from seed and watching videos from your channel and others, along with simply following the dates on your calendar has been a doddle. Everything just grows without much problem (some stuff was slow but that’s just this weather along with watering user error). Hardest part has been finding indoor space to juggle seedlings because there was no space outside/weather wasn’t ready.

        If 2021 has been a bad year for weather (cold till april, no sun, then no rain, now no sun again) then I cannot wait for a good year.

        1. I’m delighted to read this Scott, and you deserve a good year! Although 2021, as with so many years, has been balancing out recently.

  15. ps. to changing raised beds-
    Sorry my last sentence should have been, “So, my question: is all that digging and handling worth the effort, or will it be a big expense for no discernible gain, compared to simply removing the surface clay-loam down to my finished desired level, minus whatever depth of mature compost you suggest?
    Thank you again.

  16. Thank you so much for all you the information and experience you share around the world Charles!
    I converted my 15 through to 25 y.o. vegetable beds to no-dig in June (mid winter here) last year and experienced many of the benefits immediately. Two of my beds (all 2.2mts wide which i can’t change) are raised 350mm above surrounding paths (which I also cannot change), and retained by now rotting hardwood (200x100mm). As you write, they provide superb habitat for all sorts of pests, and I can also see the raised beds are going to become dangerous to climb on and off as I age, so have decided to lower them to nearly path level.
    I have scraped and reserved the top 40-odd mm of remaining compost from last year and the next 60odd mm of soil immediately below it which is clearly different from the very dark heavy clay-loam below. The next roughly 550mm is very dark heavy clay loam, and below that a sudden change to orange coloured subgrade gritty clay (which does slowly drain). The garden has been “organically managed” for 25years with compost and volcanic rock dust added, albeit manually forked over to about 300mm depth every few years. I FEEL like it has had 25 years of hard work put into it, and the top 300mm has good organic carbon levels (according to soil tests I had about 4 years ago). The top 300 also appears to be slightly darker in colour than remaining clay loam below.
    I am at the age where I have some financial resources to pay younger stronger fellows to help, but not in a position to “waste” money if the improved health and productivity of the garden will be only slight, if at all.
    I have been planning to dig out and reserve the top 300mm of clay-loam, assuming it is “more nutritious”, then excavate and remove from site the next 300mm. Finally put the reserved 300mm back in the hole, and top it with 150mm of mature compost, bringing the bed back to about path level.
    So, my question: is all that digging and handling worth the effort, or will it be a big expense for no discernible gain, compared to simply removing the surface clay-loam down to my finished desired level?
    Thanks indeed.

    1. Hi Steve
      Wow, big job.
      That would be a lot of work and may be worthwhile, despite a big disruption to the soil’s ecosystem.
      Or is there a way instead that you could build up your path level? I would even look at adding compost of any kind, on top of the pathways. Now that you do not have sides to your beds, the plant roots can and will explore your path soil for its moisture and fertility.

      1. thank you again Charles. Unfortunately, it’s just not feasible to raise that paths because of fixed surrounding infrastructure and levels etc. At least I can put down to “lessons learnt”, and the work will contribute a bit of income to some local young blokes.

  17. Charles, further to my comments a few moments ago, my wife raised the question as to whether we can eat the tomatoes/peppers in question. Your view?

  18. I have apparent pyralide poisoning in my pot grown tomatoes and peppers. Both crops are in 12″ buckets and the compost is a mix of Sylvagrow and mushroom compost (3/1) for the tomatoes and You Garden ‘professional ‘ and mushroom compost (3/1) for the peppers. I have conducted the broad bean test on both composts and all is well. I was unable to do the same with the mushroom compost (Country Care) as I had used it all up. So the conclusion is that it must be the mushroom compost. However as a result of reading a related article, I contacted my lawn service contract providers and asked them what weed killer they use. The answer was they use a product called Enstar which contains Dicamba and Fluroxpyr. Googling both you will find that Fluroxpyr is a relative of Pyralid. And guess where all my lawn cutting go – into my Hotbin. Do you think that there any possibility that my home made compost is toxic? I will try the broad bean test on some and let you know the outcome. Best wishes and thanks for you regular blog, it’s the best fortnightly read to date.

    1. Oh dear. This is really serious because from what I am hearing more and more, a LOT of people are using products like you describe.

      For example I just had message from a man who has used Westland All in One Lawncare, then he spread the clippings between vegetables, which are now stunted. He contacted them and they told him that the product contains both 2-4-D and Dicamba. Both are synthetic auxin (growth promoter) compounds which kill many broadleaf plants (weeds, potatoes, tomatoes, beans etc) by overstimulating their growth.

      PLEASE PEOPLE, DO NOT USE LAWN WEEDKILLERS. Even Roundup sometimes contains auxinn weedkillers.

      1. I have this experience too! Stunted and twisted plants and I immediately suspected the (organic) compost. Yet a bio-assay in said compost produced beautifully healthy seedlings, which was very confusing. Then I remembered I used my neighbour’s grass clippings last year. She had always insisted she never uses any herbicides, but as it turns out she DOES use a lawn fertiliser THAT CONTAINS WEED KILLERS 2,4-D and Dicamba! The Dutch brand that sell it (Pokon) do NOT advertise their product to be harmful for plants and the packaging even says it is Good For Gardens.

        My neighbour had always been under the impression that she was doing something Good For Her Garden and feels awful now. This only goes to show how sly this poison is. Those companies selling it (without proper warnings) should be ashamed of themselves.

        1. Hello Maaike, so sorry to read this.
          It is shocking isn’t it? How they put poison into something called fertiliser, and hiding these lethal ingredients.
          Well done for working it out, and thanks for sharing.

  19. I am always curious about the dimension your garden beds are, it’s hard on a video for me to see the scale.

    Would you be able to give a quick explanation on bed size for the new garden area?

    Thank you,

    Leah

    And we are breaking all time record at my house. 125*F in my backyard. Ouch

  20. Thanks for posting so many interesting things again. Love to see how the new area is developing, very exciting!

    Our no dig area at school is doing well and pests are mainly birds – pulling up sweetcorn transplants and destroying squash plants. We need more netting. Also we’ve been pulling hedge bindweed for a few weeks now. It’s so fast growing! The cardboard under the paths has now partly decomposed. During the dry weather, the hedge bindweed produced long stems under the dry and stiff cardboard to find a way out. The stems sometimes came out by the metre, when pulling the top.

    I admit, after watching your videos I was so convinced the principle does work, that I chose the most bindweed infested area to go no dig first! I still feel it is the way to go, because with a small area and the weeds clearly visible on top of the mulch and woodchips we are in control. Also: Not a single slug in sight, since the paths changed from grass to woodchips.

    The field bindweed in your new area is different. It doesn’t make these sturdy stems, more thin weedy top growth from the parent rhizome. It might be even harder to eradicate.

    We’ve always saved seeds from beans, lettuce, tomatoes, squash. (That’s how the school year starts.) Chard self seeds around the garden. But we haven’t saved seeds from carrots. Partly because failing to grow decent ones… You said, there is a mesh over your carrots against cross pollinating . So, they don’t need pollinators to make viable seed, is that right?
    Thanks again for your fabulous blog!
    Steph

    1. This is good to hear stuff. Yes the hedge bind weed does have fatter roots and is easier, in my experience, to eliminate within two years. A nice job for the children to pull those long roots.

      The carrot flowers do need pollination, and we shall need to do it by hand somehow. What we cannot risk is insect pollinated flying in with some pollen from the wild carrots.

      Good luck with the birds!

  21. Here’s a question that has stemmed from my ‘no dig” practices this year. I pulled my onions when they were ready, which is earlier in today’s climate here in West Tennessee, USA. I did nothing more to the soil except add a bit more compost, before planting bush beans and pole beans.

    But now I wonder: What about the “holes” in the soil where they onions were? Should I have somehow eliminated these “holes” before planting seeds? I thought of this as the bean seedlings emerged and something made be realize there are air pockets where the onions were.

    1. Yes Evelyn, I always firm soil back down after any ‘pull’. Level with rake or feet.
      Probably still possible.

  22. My experience of bees both in the home garden and at the allotment is that, if you plant perennial pollinators, they just arrive. It’s almost like you can allocate a certain number per pollinator (a giant wild lupin seems to support about eight, ditto with a comfrey patch). It’s just a question of building up a portfolio of pollinators that flower throughout the season, so that the bees always have something to feed on.

    I have to say that, for all that the spring was ‘cold’, here in NW London, the vegetable garden has never looked better. The greater rainfall in May, good rainfall in June has really been a boon for lettuce, brassicas, peas, and now the climbing beans and leeks. We are getting a great broad bean harvest down at the allotment and the cherries are very good, albeit a smaller crop this year compared to last. The Boltardy beetroot started harvesting about 3 weeks later than last year, but the beetroots I transplanted at the end of April will be ready mid July.

    Another indicator of the later spring this season is the ‘June drop’ of apples here, which normally happens in NW London in the first half of the month, happened this year last night when we had 1 inch of rain again. It’s much, much later than normal.

    It does teach us all that cooler weather and more rain benefits some crops, whilst been less good for others. Consistent rain followed by 3 weeks of warm sunshine followed by plenty of rain again is just what most of my crops asked for!

    The real challenge is how to deal with a longer ‘hungry gap’, I guess….

    1. Great to hear Rhys.
      Now I know where all the rain’s gone that keeps being forecast but doesn’t seem to arrive ….

  23. I built a pallet pile under a tree (keep some rain off) but despite throwing in supermarket cardboard boxes like they are going out of fashion along with woodchip, small sticks and paper), it’s looking like compost looks when it’s too green. I’ve turned it but how do you get enough browns to mix with your piles at this time of year?

    I’ve next been any good at compost and seeing your piles makes me jealous.

    1. We stockpile wood chips and shavings from last autumn.
      Quite brown now, and mow them before adding, see video on YT of last July.
      You can do it Scott 😀

  24. Hi Charles,

    Great info again, however my first early casablanca potatoes are nowhere near ready. Can they have the tops cut to put all the energy into the tubers or is this counter productive. The tops are really lush.

    Regards

    Bob

    1. Ah no that would indeed be totally counter-productive, because it would stop them growing at all.
      So you could indeed do it, then harvest what is there, but they won’t get any bigger

  25. I’m interested to know more about your compost loo Charles! It’s something I have hankered after for a while, but with only 2 of us in our household, I have no idea how practical it would be. I presume this is something that only gets used in the warmer months (ie, not winter time)?

    I love the new compost “bins”. This is something we can do to modify ours, so that we can turn them more easily. Thank you.

    1. Years ago, there was a bunkhouse run about 20 miles from Fort William in the Western Highlands of Scotland which used a compost toilet 12 months a year! Most of us slept in aging caravans which served as ‘accommodation’, but it was a fabulous base for the Scottish winter hills. We were of course then in our early 20s, so lacking in any excuses for it ‘being too cold’….

  26. I am envious of your weather right about now Charles!
    Being from the Pacific Northwest, the current heat wave is just too much. I am spending so much time running between a NO Air Con house and keeping my children and pets cool, to outside in blistering temperatures and trying to keep my plant babies cool and moist. It’s a full time job right now. Yesterday my backyard garden hit 108*F. Today, it’s supposed to be 115*F. Miserable.
    I am enjoying watching all your YouTube videos and am learning so much. Have your Course 2 and both Course 3A and 3B. Amazing and so very helpful. Actually I’ve splurged a bit and also have your Winter Vegetable and Salads books as well. I find them all brilliant. Thank you for sharing all you do with us. It’s so very generous.

    1. Ah super that you enjoy the materials and information 😀
      I am sorry about your weather Leah, what an ordeal!
      Yes it’s lovely here. So far…

  27. I’m so pleased you are getting the recognition you both deserve. No dig has enabled me to sucessfully grow veg without total decimation overnight by slugs – mainly due to using compost mulch & side free veg beds. I have also sown & harvested Cos lettuce for months in the greenhouse and they looked like little lettuce towers before eventually going to seed.

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