No dig with Charles Dowding, showing his fourth summer at Homeacres

No dig with Charles Dowding, showing his fourth summer at Homeacres


you hello I’m Charles doubting in my garden at homemakers in Somerset southwest England and I want to show you around a bit I’ll show you how this garden was made it’s an intensive Market Garden cropping a quarter of an acre of vegetables for sale locally and using the no dick methods so I’m not disturbing or tilling the soil in any way at all and it’s also great methods for growing flowers and fruit trees anything you like the vegetables grow simply and abundantly we have relative weeding to do it’s not so much watering as when the soil is disturbed so let’s go and have a look around compost is a gardeners best friend and I make as much as I can here because it’s hard to have enough I’m putting on a mulch every year and that is my main input of fertility and I use compost because in this climate other marches tend to encourage slugs whereas well rotted materials whatever they were in the first place don’t harbor slugs and I can sow and plant into them straight away so here is my current compost heap and it’s taking all the garden waste and getting pretty warm it’s actually only we started it three days ago and already the temperatures up to 62 centigrade much too hot to put your hand in so that’s transforming the wastes which are anything from the green leaves weeds crop residues grass moans stemi stuff woodie’s stuff is good up to half brown matter including paper cardboard straw I get from my neighbors for example anything you can get hands on it a bit brown to mix with the greens and then in terms of how much size you need you don’t need a huge heat for a small garden this is quite a big table in the 3/4 acre so quite a lot of inputs coming in this area here which is about five foot square we’ll take all the waste from this garden for a whole month in the summer so a lot of stuff is going in here and turning into sadly not a huge amount of compost but this will make maybe a ton of composted behind me there’s a heap that we just finished that was the previous month’s input from the whole garden plus some straw brought in and that will make about a tonne and then we’re going to turn that into the empty bay on it’s right beyond us so you need a on average about three bays if you want to get serious about composting they could be smaller than this but it’s useful to have three separate areas for making compost for the amount of vegetables I grow here I can’t make enough compost so I am buying in some as well question is what does one buy in here for example is compost that was used for growing mushrooms so it’s already composted when I buy it and it’s been sitting here here actually so it’s now it’s really well rotted and that’s beautiful for spreading weed free and then here are two different potential compost well one is potential one is sort of finish this one is green waste compost so that’s compost made from gardens so that people take to the dump and it sure didn’t turned into something black and crumbly as he wasn’t really finished when I took delivery so I’ve covered it with polythene and it’s still warm and I’ll be using this in the winter and then under the other cover it’s the woodchips which I was given by a local tree surgeon and these need a lot of breaking down before you could use them say for growing vegetables anyway although like that you could put them in pathways for example but it’s another potential option for importing some fertility to grow great vegetables the nodig approach works really well on all different soils this is the fourth market garden I’ve made and the first three were very different my first one in the 1980s was on stony brush up to seven acres by the time I finished there then I was in France on really white sticky clay potentially difficult sauce was growing and it worked really well lovely no dig vegetables for the local market there then I was at low farm not far from here growing on an acre of yellow clay and again no dig gave me bountiful crops very little weeding and here on homemakers quarter acre silty loam really fertile so and it’s got a nice compost mulch on top which is what I’m sowing and planting into and this is where no dig seems to really come into its own because for example the parsnips there whatever so easy to get going a lot of gardeners struggle it seems to get their passage to come up in the spring I finally work every year so I simply sew the seeds into the compost mulch on the surface and that’s it and this very little weeding subsequently because this compost mulch once you’ve done an initial hoeing of the weed seeds that were in it there’s not many weeds subsequently grow through the year so to grow these onions it’s been very simple thumb growing from sets some from seeds and we’ve had to do very little weeding once they’re established and now it’s just harvest time you’ve seen lovely bulbs no dig with a compost mulch makes growing really easy so wide range of crops I’m growing here all with the same in the same soil with the same amount of mulch on the surface because I’m feeding the soil then thinking right what should I grow here for example we have peas these actually have not even picked because they’re for seed so I’m just letting them all develop and then we’re going to harvest these little pods and they’ve got dry seeding that’s for next year’s pea shoots and I growing flowers at the ends of some of the beds and that helps to pull in some predators for pests it just mixes up the pests and predator balance keeps everything healthy and it looks nice and then there’s second cropping so second cropping in no digs is incredibly simple because all you need to do is clear the debris of the first crop in this case it was broad beans further up it was peas they’ve just finished so we’ve taken that off to the compost heap and in this case planted some chicory for autumn salad and in this bed the beetroot growing here I planted between garlic so this already has had a harvest of garlic in this area and then multi-zone modules of beetroot planted between the garlic as it’s maturing and so you get an overlap across you get more in the growing seasons here we have celery it’s just finishing from a spring planting and behind me some chard which we’re cropping every week celeriac this is an autumn harvest so this is one of the vegetables that takes a whole season to mature and that actually needs some water at the moment so we’re watering that twice a week it’s very dry one of the harder vegetables to grow but once you’ve got your saw really fertile it becomes easier and then some nice plants here tree spinach very pretty little shoots for putting in salad bags and perennial kale behind that so that’s a three-year-old plant of kale Taunton Dean which gives care leaves every week for much of the year because I’m cropping my vegetables very intensively and using only 1/3 of the area here at homemakers there is plenty of room for growing lots of lovely flowers which I really enjoy and no dig makes it quite simple in fact because they’re so little weeding to do one side cleared the ground this was really messy weeds when I arrived full of bindweed brambles ivy and thorough mulching in the first year to starve them of light and it’s now very clear of weeds a little bit of bind weed that I remove with a trowel and I can grow this wonderful range of annual and perennial flowers both here in front of the house and then different borders around homemakers really makes the garden look pretty for a large part of the year this is the east side of my market gardens at the moment it happens to have mostly Salle’s growing for the summer salad bags of mixed leaves which we pick four twice a week and quite a few vegetables four boxes sold once a week all mixed up quite a bit to get a better balance of pest and predator and with a few flowers for the same reason to attract some predators for the general health and well-being of all these crops you you these two beds are a trial a comparison of how the same vegetables grow in and stug beds and and under beds so same so in same plantings this bed I have dug it every year in the winter incorporate compost and this bed I simply put the same amount of compost on top and then at any stage of the year you can have a good look and compare the growth and all the harvests also are weighed so that there’s a record of the productivity of each bed and at the moment it’s middle of July and this bed has given 42 kilos the dug bed and the unlike bed has given 41 and a half so sorry sibling cropping and this pattern of cropping actually repeats this is the tenth year now and it’s more or less the same all the time so then you wonder all the extra work of digging why at the moment we got it all the second crops which is why the vegetables are quite small carrots for example following lettuce nd following shallots and onions kale and cabbage following beetroot cucumbers following potatoes and parsnips that have been there all spring in the heart of homemakers garden is this beautiful cedar green hash where I’m cropping summer tomatoes cucumbers melons OB jeans and basil and then salads in the winter and also this greenhouse is brilliant for propagation it holds a little bit more warmth than the polytunnel and so I’ve got plants being raised all year round here and in the spring I make a little hotbed of fresh Osman s which is fantastic for providing warmth to get the first showings underway starting in the middle of February that’s homemakers I have just one polytunnel very intensively cropped and very simply – in terms of soul preparation three inches of compost once a year in May and that supports growth all through the whole calendar year at the moment hi summer so it’s tomatoes cucumbers and basil for salad all growing just fed by that compost mulch no other feeds given and supported on strings the summer crops here so I’m using the full height of the polytunnel making maximum use of every bit of light and then in September October these plants finish cropping and we pull them out very simple preparation again or hardly anything actually popping in plants for winter Silas picked from November through to April this is the west side of homemakers a 3,000 square foot strip where as well as vegetables I’m growing some perennials so there’s perennial vegetables artichokes kale up there and soft root as well and a double strip bed of asparagus which I planted the Crown’s on undisturbed pasture very weedy ground compost mulch on top and that’s less than four years old now really abundant and we were picking Spears already this spring and here I have another little trial where strips two meters wide each this one has a mulch of well rotted cow manure and the middle one has amount of green waste or mushroom compost so it’s comparing the effect on growth of different composts and then a third strip has the same compost as the second one but each bed within it has been dug before planting so that’s a comparing simply dig no dig and it’s the fourth year now of this trial and so far the middle strip is slightly ahead in terms of yield I’m weighing all the harvests so the no dig with green waste mushroom compost is doing really well I’m growing a range of fruit trees at homemakers and this is a line of 14 different varieties of apple tree which when I planted them only three and a half years ago they were like little sticks and I made a small hole in the ground bare root transplants and now they’re turning into beautiful little trees which I’m pruning in the summer as well as winter and key to their establishment has been keeping the ground really well weeded all the time so start mulching of initial weeds and then an inch of compost or so every winter to keep the ground fertile and helps to keep it weed free and healthy growth on the apples when planting fruit trees the thing to pay close attention to is rootstock because that will affect how big the tree eventually grows and the apple trees we just saw are growing on a medium size roots on em 26 mm 106 whereas these plums are grown on a dwarfing rootstocks called pixie my idea is that I don’t want them to take up too much room here it’s only quite a small shed keeps everything nice and small and tidy easy to pick the fruit which are developing very nicely and on each side of my shared I’ve planted three dwarfing plums of different varieties Victoria opal and Marjory seedling on the other side for more information on organic noded gardening check out any of my seven books on different aspects of this subject growing vegetables above all and my website has fortnightly updates to keep you up to speed on sowing planting harvesting and also you’ll find information on my website about courses I run day courses here we can courses courses around and abroad even and lots more all about no dig organics Oh

100 thoughts on “No dig with Charles Dowding, showing his fourth summer at Homeacres

  1. I smiled during the whole video! Just inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing your extraordinary knowledge and experience!

  2. Я не знаю вас,но вы молодец,чтоб держать вот так окуратно огород и сад!!!удачи вам и здаровья,привет вам из Росси

  3. Charles Dowding thank you for all of your sharing and teaching! And for the peak into the business side of your gardening. Do you have other videos or resources on running a market garden/selling vegetable boxes weekly? I'd be very grateful for this information. Much love and appreciation to you and your family.

  4. Great video. Would have liked a little more hands-on showing of how to do it, rather than a tour of the end result. Disappointing.

  5. Charles , another beautiful video of yours i came across. Such a beautiful abundance you have in your garden.Thanks for sharing it with us.

  6. ชอบสวนคุณมากดูแล้วมีความสุข
    อยากมีบรรยากาศแบบนี้จัง
    From Thailand

  7. Ngôi nhà thật đẹp.đặt biêt là cái vường.ước mơ cả đời củng không bao giờ có được.thôi thì cứ mơ đi đã.chúc a vui vẻ.

  8. I love your garden, Mr. Dowding! You’re an inspiration to all us gardeners (and wannabe gardeners, or arm-chair gardeners, etc etc). Great videos! – Adam

  9. Thank you so much for making these videos and writing your books. I am living in Hungary and we have a bit different climate but I can use your method in my garden. All of your parts of the garden is very beaufitul full of life. It is so amazing to have such a good persons as you are who is able and willing to help others to grow organic food. Thank you again and I wish you manny blessings.

  10. Hi Charles, I'm giving my first steps in my sub-urban farm. Wonderful content and very inspiring. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

  11. Amazing Garden you have. Sir! It's immaculate! No pests whatsoever..I'm thinking hedgehogs,frogs,slow worms,grass snakes and the like.Very nice!

  12. 💑👫🏡📀📀📀💓💓💓🌈⛏⛏⛏☁️☁️☁️☂💧💧💧🏃⛏🌏🤓☁️☁️☁️💥💥💥⚓️🎄🌴🌳🌲🌻🌺🌸🌼🌷🌹⌚️🍃🍂✊🔬⚙⛏🏓🏹🎯💊⚖⚙🌏💧☁️☁️☁️💥💥💥🤓🍎🍎🍎☁️☁️☁️👍👍👍🤓👍💥🌹👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

  13. what is the name of that perennial kale you have planted…. i am going to be putting in a perennial area in my own garden and i am looking for items to go in there

  14. Watching from Russia… so beautiful, it’s hard to understand the work behind unless you worked in the garden yourself! Reminds me of my parents’ summer house, all green and plenty of crops. Perhaps a tad more organized as everything British:) thank you for sharing!

  15. Hi Charles
    We've been following your method on a patch of ground that was just weeds and poplar tree roots. It worked well for pumpkins and squash for 2 years.
    This year I am trying to grow tomatoes, and I may have come up against an obstacle.
    The soil is so shallow that I can't drive a stake into the ground for support to tie up the tomatoes without hitting hard-pan and rocks, about 8 inches down. I added manure to fertilize them, but I am concerned they won't grow well in such shallow soil.
    What do you recommend for next year, other than having top soil brought in?

  16. How would you prevent soil compaction in no dig method if you add a thick layer of compost every year? Also can you apply no dig to raised beds and planting containers as well?

  17. Wonderful! Isn’t He wonderful!? We’re given such wonderful blessing. I thoroughly enjoy your videos. From Nova Scotia, Canada

  18. Charles, your garden is truly lovely and you are brilliant! I am jealous but secretly working hard to catch up with you. Perhaps someday I may have an educational video of my own on YT. 😊

  19. Just love your informative videos. I applied some of your techniques and ideas and lots of things are going very well. Learning so much from all your videos. Thank you and keep making them!

  20. Adding cocopeat to soil in raw conditions is good or bad idea. Bcz I felt it raise temperature may cause harm to new plant's.??

  21. I like agriculture work. Although i am soldier, when i get opportunity, i will make garden, most of farmers use fertilizer like chemical, it is very harmful for soil.but YOU use Organic.

  22. Do you grow the same tomatoes and cucumbers each year. Which ones do you find give the best overall crops of both. Great video again.

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