Everything a beginner gardener needs to know
I came across Charles Dowding on the internet whilst researching alternative ways of growing fruit and vegetables. Immediately his ‘No-Dig’ teachings fired my imagination. Then I read his book ‘Gardening Myths and Misconceptions’. The thing about gardening and veg growing is that everyone’s done it all before, so there’s loads of advice in books and on the internet about how to grow just about everything. Such as how to set out an allotment, when is the best time to water the garden, how to rotate crops and so on and so on. But what Charles has done is simply ask why should we blindly follow these ancient laws of the vegetable grower. Why do we need to sow onion seeds so far apart, or why can’t we water plants when it’s sunny and loads of other instructions we take for granted. But that’s the point, we take it for granted that we should just follow the instructions.
Of course I want to be a successful gardener and the best way is to learn is from those more experienced, I have no problem with that at all, and welcome it. But if all I have to do is follow a set of rules it kind of takes the magic out of creating a garden. Where’s the excitement after harvesting your first few summer crops? Should we methodically go through the motions year after year? It all becomes a little like baking, there’s always going to be the feeling of achievement at the end but it’s good to spice things up a little now and again don’t you think?
Years and years ago when I went to art college, the lecturer in our first meeting told us, ‘You are here to learn the rules, because only then you will know how best to break those rules, and hopefully produce something original’. Well, that’s kind of how I feel about gardening. I’m still learning but Charles has shown me that blind faith in following the instructions on the back of seed packets, can only take me so far in becoming a real gardener. Like my son once said when he was just 3 years old, and we were walking by the beach. He pointed at the sea and said ‘what’s that?’ I answered, ‘It’s the sea’. He replied, ‘what’s it do?’
So, thank you Charles Dowding for the inspiration and the no dig method. You’re a star.
Here’s a video he made about his garden. Below you will find links to his books, they’re really good.
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