Our Top Gardening Books: “Organic Gardening” by Charles Dowding

“Organic Gardening: The Natural No-Dig Way”

Charles Dowding has a unique approach to gardening: he doesn’t dig. Through many years of experimenting with different gardening methods he has found out that ” you need to dig” is a myth. In fact, digging is damaging the soil. In today’s post we are giving you an introduction of the “no-dig” way of gardening.

So what does “no-dig” mean?

In order to grow organic and healthy crops, you have to work with your climate, soil, locality and plants. One of the defining methods of this is that you don’t dig the soil up to loosen it. The no-dig way. If your soil is too hard that plant roots cannot penetrate in the first place, cover it with 15cm of compost. This way you create a “topsoil” layer, that is soft, fertile and rich in nutrients. This topsoil will attract worms that will do the digging for you. They eat all the decaying organic matter, which they turn into humus – essential for growing healthy delicious crops. Quite soon your worm population will be increasing and more plants will grow. That also includes weeds, but you can easily pull them out.

In terms of weeds, try and garden in a way that discourages weeds to grow: no digging, avoiding weedy compost, and doing a little hand weeding every 10 days in the summer.

Dowding uses a system of permanent slightly raised beds and permanent paths of soil between them. This way very few weeds grow: the soil is not panicked by being disturbed into “re-covering” itself, which happens when the reservoir of seed weeds lying dormant in every soil are exposed to light.

Before you start growing your vegetables, clear your garden of perennial weeds (dig out their roots) like dandelions, stinging nettles, docks couch grass, ground elder and bindweed. For small plots, the most practical method is to create beds with wooden edges, treated with organic wood protector.

To find out more and get started on your no-dig organic gardening journey, get the hardback copy or ebook here.

 

 

 

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