Soil - The Final Frontier, with Charles Dowding

Top gardening guru Charles Dowding for his spellbindingly earthy illustrated lecture: Soil - the Final Frontier


Charles’ website

SOIL: we love it. We live on it and from it and here in Somerset we are more than averagely blessed with it. It is, or should be, a symbiosis. So how should we care for it appropriately, so that in giving the soil what it needs, it will continue to give us what we need?

Charles reveals all with his radical approach to loving, caring for and nurturing our Mother Earth. Fabulously illustrated with images of more than three decades of constant, careful research and development in a series of fantastic gardens, this lecture brings together all the ideas and experiments of one of our greatest gardening gurus.

Charles’ incredibly popular and tremendously respected series of books have become essential – and if your desire runs towards chicories, lettuces and vegetable growth, then come and be informed and entertained by Charles’s fantastic tales from the kitchen garden.

His latest book, Charles Dowding’s Veg Journal, is just published and signed copies will be available. It is brilliant on Charles’s method & particularly good on all matters of timing, so often a cause of failure & frustration.

Charles’ concerns go way beyond the boundary of his own garden. He sees soil as a living organism, the foundation of life on earth, still imperfectly understood, often terribly treated and damaged. Constant ploughing and digging harm soil life, break down structure making soil vulnerable to compaction and erosion, and cause considerable loss of carbon to the air. So Charles runs experiments comparing growth between plants on soils that have been differently prepared & treated. His main experiment compares dug and undug ground – plants growing in undug beds grow fast and strong with far less work, little damage by slugs and less weed competition. So how does he achieve this? The mystery will be revealed and, with images from his beautiful & seductive gardens ( and anyone who likes growing things cannot fail to be utterly ravished) he will lead us gently around his beds. Pure poetry! It's a delight!

“My vegetable love should grow/ Vaster than Empires...” Andrew Marvell

The Ebenezers will be preparing a unique gastronomic event with their world famous Friday night supper made from Charles's fabulous organic vegetables.


Charles Dowding

Charles has been growing organic vegetables for three decades, with a "no-dig" approach to his soils. Four different market gardens have ranged from eleven acres in the 1980s, to an acre in 1990s France and the current third of an acre in Somerset where his fertile beds produce year-round salad leaves and a wide range of vegetables, sold in local shops and restaurants. The garden also grows experiments.

Since 2006 Charles has distilled his experience into five books on vegetable growing. He writes articles for gardening publications, gives talks near and far, including to the Japanese RHS in Tokyo, and runs courses from Homeacres and around the country on how best to look after soil and plants. More at Charles’ website


There is a great review of Charles’s Veg Journal book in the Sunday Telegraph of 12.2.14:

Charles Dowding’s books include:

Organic Gardening the Natural, No Dig Way. Green Books 2007, 2nd edition 2010, third all colour edition 2013,

Salad Leaves for All Seasons. Green Books 2008

How to Grow Winter Vegetables. Green Books

Charles Dowding’s Vegetable Course. Frances Lincoln 2012

Charles Dowding's Veg Journal - Expert no-dig advice, month by month,_ Frances Lincoln 2014 (14th February)

Gardening Myths, Green Books 2014 (27th March)

Creating a New garden, Green Books September 2014

2014Martin Keeley