On the afternoon of 23rd February the Village Hall was full of enthusiastic gardeners and vegetable growers to hear a fascinating talk by Charles Dowding, arranged as part of Lympstone Garden Club’s programme of events.

Charles brought us the great news that digging the vegetable plot is not necessary – in fact it can actually harm soil structure. For 25 years he has NOT DUG (except to clear perennial weeds and turf) and his crops have done nothing but improve! He did point out that this method did not result in less work, but instead involved different ways of caring for the soil.

Charles is a highly respected vegetable grower and was an early pioneer of vegetable boxes. Now his salad leaves in particular form a large part of his business, and he supplies many establishments within four miles of his home at Lower Farm in Shepton Montague, Somerset.

There is so much to learn from Charles’ methods and, whether or not you were able to be at his talk, I urge you to have a look at his extremely good website which even has a forum for discussing your gardening problems. This can be found at www.charlesdowding.co.uk

Following the talk everyone was able to enjoy tea and delicious cakes, baked by members of the Committee, before putting their questions to Charles. A successful raffle was also held, one of the prizes being a fold-up wheelbarrow. Jim Bailey wondered whether, in view of the subject of the talk, we should actually have had a fold-up spade instead!

The Lympstone Garden Club is eagerly looking forward to its coach trip to Charles’ farm on 23rd June when we will be able to see his no dig methods in practice for ourselves. On our way back from Shepton Montague we will be visiting Stourhead National Trust property. The coach will be allocated on a first come first serve basis – further information will soon be available.

Viv Day

Lympstone Garden Club