Book Review: Charles Dowding's Vegetable Journal

This is the latest offering from no-dig gardening guru Charles Dowding and is essentially an updated reprise of his earlier Veg Course in bite-size monthly chunks. Seeing part of Charles's philosophy is to do 'little and often', his Veg Journal sits well with this premise.

After a very brief introduction, we're straight into January and setting up for the coming growing season. February sets out the argument for the no-dig approach and March deals with the types of beds, plus their pros and cons. April sees the creation of our no-dig beds. We're also into the growing season proper at this point, with the growing of each crop introduced at the appropriate sowing time. Woven into the mix are various general information articles on weeds, pest control, crop rotation etc.

Each month is completed with a list of jobs, plus there are blank pages inserted at various points for the reader to keep their own notes and for the book to be in keeping with its title. As with most journals of this type, most growers will probably need more space, particularly if they want to keep detailed notes of harvests, or comparison of dig vs no-dig as Charles does. I'm considering using Post-it notes on these pages so that I'll have more space.

Overall Verdict

I'd say this is a book suitable for beginners who've just taken on a plot of their own, or for intermediate gardeners who are keen to try the no-dig approach for the first time. If you already have a copy of  Organic Gardening: The Natural No-dig Way or his Vegetable Course, then you already have most of the information to hand.

This is well-produced and thought out hardback - the others I've mentioned are paperback - with plentiful illustrations and lots of tables detailing Charles's results. The move to Frances Lincoln is suiting him well.

NB Charles has been rather modest by not taking the opportunity to mention his detailed no-dig website, complete with forum, courses and a host of other goodies. I'm very happy to oblige with a link from here.

Would you like your own copy of Charles Dowding's Veg Journal?

As well as receiving my review copy from the publisher, there's an extra copy up for grabs for anyone reading this who's based in the UK or EU. Simply leave me a Comment below, making sure I have enough information to contact you should you be the lucky winner.

After the closing date (26th January) I'll be in touch with the winner to grab your details to send to the publishing company so they can send out your copy.

Alternatively, I can offer you Charles Dowding's Veg Journal at the discounted price of £12.00 including p&p* (RRP: £14.99). Telephone 01903 828503, or email them and quote the offer code APG69.

OR, send a cheque made payable to: Littlehampton Book Services Mail Order Department, and send it to: Littlehampton Book Services, PO Box 4264, Worthing, West Sussex, BN13 3RB. Please quote the offer code APG69 and include your name and address details.

* = UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

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My VP's VIPs interview with Charles Dowding from 2 years ago. Note that since then he's moved to nearby Homeacres and started from scratch again. Results from his first year there look good.


  1. This seems an excellent book for someone in my situation. I've got to totally revamp our back garden and I'm going for vegetables and fruit now that I have more time to care for them. It was more shrubs and low maintenance plants before.

    As I have a dodgy back it sounds as if the No-Dig system would be ideal.

    1. Hi versavisa - welcome! Yes, they're much easier to look after, both in terms of digging and weeding.

      BTW if you want to be included in the draw, I have no means of contacting you as the link to your profile has no details.

  2. It sounds like a great book, and not digging is genius! I don't have any of Charles Dowding's books (although I'm on the lookout for them), so I shall enjoy having a look at his website.

  3. Sounds like the book that I need, telling me when to do everything! When we made our veggie garden we decided to have raised beds so I wouldn't be bending so far, I just need reminding when to plant all my seeds! Hopefully you will have my e.mail when you get this.

  4. I would love a copy of Charles Dowding's Veg Journal. I was reading his article on crop rotation in Gardeners' World magazine and thought he has some interesting ideas. Although I do love having a good dig on the allotment, as I get older and start to suffer with painful joints I often wonder if this would be a method to try out.

  5. This sounds like a great read! The less time I need to dig my plot means the more time I have to enjoy it!!
    Interesting you are in Chippenham, my best friend is only a few miles away!!
    I shall keep my fingers crossed ;)

  6. Hi VP; Please may I be included in the draw? I seldom dig much on my plot - the raised beds respond to a gentle "trowel activity", but I seldom get my spade out unless it is to distribute compost from one of my bins.

  7. Hi everyone - thanks for your comments and good luck in the draw :)

    And welcome to Flowerlady - thanks for the Follow. I hope you enjoy future posts!


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