Simplifying the rules – easier ways to a successful fruit and vegetable garden lecture with Charles Dowding

Ref: SGL32999

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About this course

The tutor will explain his no-dig style of gardening, composting, sowing at the best time, and how to achieve healthy plants. He will also share how to grow salad leaves throughout the year, succession planting and winter vegetables.

Course Description

Learn how to achieve success without digging. This is easier gardening with simpler soil preparation, less weeding and quicker planting and harvesting.

1. Save time with quicker and more productive methods.

A look at many misunderstandings, which have a common theme: they waste the gardener’s time, especially digging and other unnecessary soil cultivations.

Charles explains how these misunderstandings have arisen, and you will learn quicker ways to achieve the desired result of healthy, happy plants, which includes sowing vegetable seeds at the best and most efficient dates.

2. Salad leaves all year

How to grow and pick large and repeat harvests from a small area, even in winter, exploring the wonderful range of plants to grow for salad leaves. Charles emphasises two ways, above all, of increasing harvests:

i) Sow the right plant for each different season, for example, sow salad rocket in August, not April.

ii) Give plants sufficient space, so that outer leaves can be picked over a long period. This also reduces slugs and disease.

There will be lots of illustrations to demonstrate these points, with an explanation of the benefits of no digging and compost mulches.

3. Succession planting and winter vegetables

You will learn tips to ensure food in winter and the hungry gap, both from fresh harvests and from stored vegetable harvests. We will look at garlic, onions, potato, parsnip, leeks and brassicas, as well as salads, broad beans, spring onion and cabbage for the hungry gap. Charles will cover the value of good soil preparation, without digging, of making and using compost and of sowing at the best time, especially after midsummer, when shortening days mean that you reap rewards from adhering to precise sowing dates.

Please note: in a variation to the Garden Lectures timetable, this day will end slightly later at 4pm.


Timetable for Garden Lectures

Students should arrive by 9.30am for registration.

Classes are from 10am - 3pm.

Lunch is included.

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Please wear/bring suitable outdoor clothing if you wish to visit the gardens.
  • You may find it useful to bring a notebook and a pencil.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, including stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Charles Dowding

Charles graduated from Cambridge in 1980 and then started his first organic, no dig market garden in Somerset. He is self-taught and learns from observation at home and abroad and is trialling new methods all the time. He teaches, writes and grows vegetables for sale, has 11 books published and 49 million views on his YouTube channel.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.