In these times of great upheaval and moral depravity, we aspiring sons and daughters of the soil need some encouragement to navigate the veggie growing year with a well thought out plan so we don't miss out on any delicious harvests. Charles Dowding, No Dig expert and organic fruit and veg master, has provided exactly this: a week by week dairy to keep you sowing, planting and harvesting throughout the year.
The Diary is full of timely and useful information rather than blank pages to fill space. It starts with No Dig basics about making compost, mulching, time-saving tips, perennial veg, flowers, and FAQs. Then on 14th February, Valentine's Day of course(!), we start the year with sowing and onion tips. Each week is date only - in other words it is not year specific - so this diary can contain your notes for sowing, planting, harvesting and observations, year on year. Every year, you therefore build a biotime diary of your own garden.
Each week has a specific topic, like the benefits of fleece, mesh or netting, the art of hoeing, no dig potatoes mulches, slug control... whatever information week by week you might need to grow successful veg. Each month Charles advises on how to sow and grow specific veg in a no dig system. The effect is that you will never miss and opportunity to sow successionally and therefore fill your beds with produce year round like he does.
There are also storage tips and then end of year tasks to prepare for next year. I have followed Charles' regime this year and am looking at my well manured and mulched, weed-free veggie beds just waiting for the weather to improve. Plus I have been eating fresh veg from the garden even in January.
If you are a seasoned No Dig grower, there are plenty of useful tips and encouragement for your garden. There is also the advantage of recording day by day your sowing, planting and harvesting dates and any other observations you may like to remember and compare year on year. For instance, I like to record the first snowdrop or cowslip opening, the first swallow, the last hard frost, the first cuckoo call, and when the frogs start to mate each year and have a comparison year on year. That is 'biotime'!
If you are a beginner, then this is your prompt to start the growing year with lots of bite size information and a clear focus for tasks.
An ideal gift for your Valentine, Charles Dowding's Vegetable Garden Diary will last years longer than a bunch of flowers or a box of chocolates and give you the information and structure to become the No Dig grower you really want to be. Highly recommeded.
Charles Dowding's new book, No Dig Organic Home and Garden is available for pre-order now at a special price of £17.95 P&P free. It is the most up-to-date and definitive guide yet!
Charles Dowding has written numerous articles in Permaculture magazine. Subscribe to access all back issues for FREE!