Home » Books »Charles Dowding » Currently Reading:

Organic Gardening – The natural no-dig way

February 11, 2013 Books, Charles Dowding No Comments

We’ve been very fortunate to get our manure-ingrained hands on a copy of the latest book from the Charles Dowding collection.

Entitled ‘Organic Gardening – The Natural No-Dig Way’, it is a new full colour edition of the original, the first (2007) of Charles’ many books on organic gardening using the no-dig approach.


Those of you who follow us on Twitter or have read of our exploits on this site, will know that we are dedicated devotees to the no-dig approach and never miss an opportunity to tell others of the benefits. We have Charles to thank for our conversion to this method, I recall fondly reading how these simple methods benefitted the soil, in his book ‘How to grow Winter Vegetables’. It all made so much sense and we were converted.



In 2012, Charles published another book ‘Charles Dowding’s Vegetable Course’ which turned out to be even more delightful with clear descriptions of the method and how to practise it. We were conversant with the methods by then and soaked up the advice.



I’m grateful that we discovered these books in the order that we did. In the first chapter of this latest edition, Charles appears to change his approach explaining - in what felt a most laboured way –  the damage that cultivation can do to a soil. Yes, it makes sense to us and I do feel his pain that so many people can’t see it too, but the first chapter simply doesn’t work. An established ‘digger’ is probably already hooked on the endorphin rush of sweaty labour and will be receiving great solace in digging down to the suburbs of Sydney, where the climate is a tad more friendly.

“Please don’t dig” cries Charles. Yes, we feel your pain. Some folks might never grasp it, but glorious photos of row upon row of  ’posh’ veg, growing happily in a wet English summer, will certainly chip away at their morale.

The rest of the book is a delight. The attention to detail, the recording of information from many years of the trialling and testing of both methods – digging and not-digging - is a tribute to Charles’ dedication to the methods described. This is still pioneering work, and the author draws on 3 decades of experience.

We are treated to chapter after chapter of information, where to grow, when to grow, distance to space, care and harvesting advice for most vegetables, herbs and fruit. The concept of double harvests is clearly described and this will entice many to attempt the no-dig approach. These no-dig methods produce soils which drain well, are warmer and more fertile than traditionally dug beds, making double harvests an easily achievable reality.

This book will undoubtedly become the ‘no-dig’ bible, as was its predecessor.

“The answer is in the soil”, says Charles and of course, we would have to agree.

Organic Gardening – the Natural No-Dig Way is available now from the publishers – Green Books




Comment on this Article:

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Log in with:

Follow us on