Stephanie Hafferty

The Creative Kitchen – my new book, coming soon!

I am so excited to announce that my new book The Creative Kitchen  will be published soon! The provisional date is end October/early November

It’s full of economical plant based recipes for everyone. Most of the ingredients can be homegrown in gardens and allotments and are also widely available in markets and shops. Learn how to create fantastic, delicious colourful meals year round with these clear and uncomplicated recipes.

In The Creative KitchenI hope to inspire you to create seasonal meals and organic products for yourself, family, home and garden.

Over 180 recipes including how to make your own:
Main meals, sides, soups and salads
Store cupboard ingredients including flavoured salts, vinegars, essences
Drinks including herbal teas, cordials and liqueurs
Soaps, balms, cleansers, toothpastes, gifts and more!

A key feature are the salads I make for the course lunches at Homeacres which are complete meals in themselves.

More information and a pre-ordering facility coming up!


ISBN: 978 1 85623 323 1

246 x 189mm

colour photographs throughout

224 pages



Publishers: Permanent Publications


Open Day at Homeacres

I am here surrounded by piles of baking recipe books and have written a very long shopping list, in preparation for the annual cake baking marathon later this week for our open day at Homeacres. All kinds of cakes, including vegan and gluten free, and there’s Charles gorgeous no dig garden to explore too.

Open day

Sunday 2nd September

Charles Dowding’s garden

OPEN 11.30-5pm, just turn up, no need to book

Vegetables on 1/4 acre no dig beds with greenhouse, fruit trees, flowers & polytunnel.

Homemade cakes and bookshop.

Free entry, light refreshments, donations Send a Cow


Homeacres, Alhampton, nr. Castle Cary/Shepton Mallet, BA4 6PZ
Alhampton Inn is open for drinks



Garden Photography Day at Homeacres

******Just last few places left******

Photography day course 10 – 4 on Thursday September 6th at Charles Dowding’s garden,

Homeacres, Alhampton, Somerset, BA4 6PZ.

A unique opportunity to attend a photography course at Charles’ gorgeous no dig garden, led by an outstanding professional photographer.

photograph: Charles Dowding

We have arranged for this day course at the special rate of £50  so that it can be attended by people who may otherwise not be able to go on one of his courses – community gardeners, bloggers, students, etc.

The focus of the day is garden photography with some food photography too. The workshop will focus on how to improve your garden, plant and food photography skills, with lots of practical information about lenses, camera settings, etc too as well as plenty of opportunity to practice your techniques in Charles’ garden.

Please bring your own SLR camera, tripod, spare memory card and batteries – also a notebook and pen. Please also wear sensible clothes and footwear: bring waterproofs just in case.

For more information or to book, please contact me via the contact form below.

As the cost is so low, we ask that everyone please brings a dish to share for lunch. Please let me (Steph) know what you are bringing so that we don’t end up with all the same thing 🙂 If you prefer to bring your own packed lunch that is fine too. Tea, coffee etc provided.
Charles will be working in the garden all day, Thursday is a picking day! He will be joining us for lunch and I am sure won’t mind being photographed whilst at work.

Please contact me if you have any further queries. 

When: Thursday 6th September

What time: 10 – 4

Location: Homeacres, Alhampton, Somerset, BA4 6PZ

Cost: £50

How to book: contact Steph using this form for details

No Dig Home – my recent blog posts

I will be posting an update on my website later in the week; I have had the dreaded flu bug that is going round so am a bit behind with the website updates I have planned, but do post regularly on No Dig Home.

Recent posts have inclduded how to sow and grow aubergines, chillies and sweet peppers…

No Dig Home

And how to reduce plastic by making paper pots.

The unseasonally cold weather has delayed some of the sowings for this year. I have sown onions, shallots, some broadbeans and early peas, but decided to wait until after the Beast from the East has passed before sowing spring outdooor broadbeans at my work kitchen garden beds at Roth Bar and Grill (Hauser and Wirth Somerset).

My polytunnel is abundant, full of luscious edible growth – it freezes every night as the temperatures fall but has so far defrosted every day. Any very frost sensitive potted plants have been moved indoors for now and those which are in the ground and so can’t be moved, or potted just a bit sensitive plants, are tucked up under layers of bubble wrap and horticultural fleece.

We are off shortly to brave the cold at Castle Cary train station (it’s about -7C with windchill just now) to attend the Garden Press Event in London. It should be an exciting and interesting day, seeing new gardening ideas and catching up with friends.

I’ll be posting pictures on my Twitter and Instagram accounts if you’d like little glimpses into the show. There are direct links for following me on my website (see the bottom and side of the screen): on Instagram I am stephaniehafferty and on Twitter @Steph_Hafferty


Now to wrap up warm and out into the cold!

We Won!

Yesterday, our book No Dig Organic Home and Garden won the Peter Seabrook Practical Book of the Year at the Garden Media Guild Awards at the Savoy in London.

We are absolutely blown away, totally delighted!

This from the GMG awards (click on image to link to the full list of GMG winners)

Screen Shot 2017-11-24 at 13.13.04

More later, it’s back to reality now (we got back from London late morning today) and I have gardening to do and a weekend course to prepare for 🙂

Quick update and Charles Dowding’s 2018 Gardening Calendar

A very quick update. For all good reasons, I have been really busy since I got back from my recent trip to Thailand and Laos, especially with work on my new book! Read More

Guest blog for Mr Plant Geek

Michael Perry, aka Mr Plant Geek, saw some photographs of the seasonal, plant based food I make on Twitter and asked me to share some recipes on his website: here they are.

I have selected recipes which make the most of fruit and vegetables currently available in the UK – either cropping now, or home stored from our summer gardens and allotments – and included a deliciously filling autumnal muffin recipe. Ideal for chilly days on the allotment, harvesting, mulching or planning 🙂

Read the blog here.



Michael has been gardening since he was a toddler, is passionate about plants and has an unusual range of t shirts!

Michael Perry, Mr Plant Geek

Photograph copyright Michael Perry



Open Afternoon at Homeacres No Dig Market Garden

It’s our open afternoon today (Sunday September 3rd) at Charles Dowding’s no dig garden, Homeacres. I was busy all day yesterday making cakes, including many with hidden vegetable ingredients!

Vegetables on 1/4 acre no dig beds with greenhouse & polytunnel. Fruit trees, lawns and flower borders.

Trial areas: dig/no dig, no rotation, different composts

Free entry, light refreshments, donations Send a Cow and Youth Charity Foundation, Thailand

Homeacres, Alhampton, nr. Castle Cary/Shepton Mallet, BA4 6PZ
Alhampton Inn is open for food

Please park in the village and walk up the road (parking on the lane only for those who need to, please, it is very narrow!)


All of the information is here. Admission is free, tea and cakes for donations to our charities.



In the summertime…

After the excitement of our book’s publication, the past few months have been a wonderfully busy time. The book has been doing so well, spending most of the time as the #1 best selling book in organic veg! The publishers have reprinted it and it is now for sale in America and Canada. We are so happy with the feedback, such lovely comments and great reviews.

During May and June have been on some fantastic garden-related trips with Charles, which explains why I haven’t had much time to update my website!

Charles gave a no dig day course at Sarah Raven’s Perch Hill, where we also took the opportunity to explore Sissinghurst with the vegetable gardening team, who run a no dig garden at this beautiful National Trust property.

The next day, we visited another wonderful no dig garden, Blooming Green which specialises in cut flowers. Charles gave a no dig course here too. The lunch was fantastic!

The last weekend of May was incredibly busy. First we flew to the amazing Ballymaloe in Cork, staying with Darina and Tim Allen, where Charles gave a day course (he returned again a few weeks later to give another one, we love Ireland!) We got to meet a lot of the cookery school students too, and sit in on one of Rachel Allen’s inspirational demonstrations.

And then on to the GIY organic centre HQ in Waterford (another no dig course!) on the Sunday. It is still under construction.

Flying back home that evening, we arrived late Sunday with just enough time to sleep and water our plants before attending a fair at River Cottage where I gave a talk about edible flowers and Charles, no dig gardening. The lunch was delicious. I enjoyed meeting the many stallholders and admiring the abundant kitchen garden.

We’ve had several sell out no dig day courses at Homeacres, visits from gardening and permaculture groups, various talks including the Permaculture Convergence and we took part in the Alhampton village open gardens.

And then…. off to Copenhagen for their first Garden Festival! The Danish version of Chelsea was small and very friendly, an absolute pleasure to visit. Fortunately the Danish speak excellent English as my Danish amounts to just one word: snegle (slug/snail!) Charles gave two no dig talks, introduced by Annette Heick, a well known Danish TV star. I enjoyed the many exhibits and meeting other gardening authors, including the fascinating Aiah Noack, author of a book about edible flowers (so we had a lot in common!) and who is currently writing a permaculture book for Scandinavian countries. We stayed with Bo and Eva Egelund, who recently celebrated the launch of Bo’s no dig guide to self sufficient gardening, Den Selvforsynende Familie (The Self Sufficient Family). It is a beautiful book, I just wish I could read it! I am rather in love with traditional Danish houses…

And there has been gardening too! Unsurprisingly I am a bit behind where I’d like to be in the garden and with all of this travelling some bindweed has taken the opportunity to grow in my front garden, but with mulched no dig beds that is easy to trowel out. I’m hopeful that things will be back on track soon. The polytunnel and greenhouse are full, my allotment is almost full – just some more brassicas to plant – and my neighbour Audrey jokes that my back garden is turning into a jungle, now that the fruit trees are all leafy and producing fruit.

After slipping back into winter occasionally – or rather that is how it felt, with suddenly cool temperatures and a few days of gales – it now really is summertime. My garden is full of delicious soft fruit: boysenberries, strawberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, whitecurrants, loganberries, apricots and blueberries are ripe now, other fruits will be ready soon. I’m especially looking forward to my early Victoria-type plum.

The first aubergine is ready in my polytunnel, where I am growing 12 different varieties! Cucumbers too and some sweet Sungold tomatoes.

The kitchen garden beds I manage at Roth Bar and Grill, at the Hauser & Wirth Somerset Gallery are full of edible flowers, herbs and delicious vegetables. Growing most of the plants in modules helps to keep the beds full as there is usually something ready to plant whenever I clear a previous crop. The beans were badly hit by the gales, but have recovered and should be cropping soon.

Raw smoothies made in a powerful blender are a favourite at this time of year. After we have picked the leaves on a Friday morning, whilst Charles washes them I prepare a brightly coloured breakfast packed full of vitamins and flavours. Beetroot adds a wonderful dimension of colour.

This week I’ve been sowing Florence fennel, chicories, more dwarf French beans, chard, herbs and different kales. I’m not quite sure where I’ll fit them in!


Open Afternoon at Homeacres

We have an open afternoon at Charles’ no dig market garden at Homeacres tomorrow, one of Alhampton’s many gardens to open, on Sunday 18th June. Read More

April update

Two very exciting things are happening today (Friday 21st April). Our book, No Dig Organic Home & Garden has arrived at the publishers! It will be with us in Somerset on Monday; Charles and I are very much looking forward to seeing the book. We’ll have a lot of signing and packaging of the pre-orders to do 🙂

Also, this evening Charles is being featured on Gardeners World – even Monty’s dog Nigel has been Tweeting about this (he might have got no dig a bit confused…!)

The crew filmed for a day on August 10th 2016. It was fascinating watching the process. A whole day’s filming has been condensed into a feature of around 6 minutes. Charles’ son Ed is on the left of the first photograph below – he makes most of Charles’ popular You Tube videos.

Tonight the programme will also include footage of Charles with Geoff Hamilton back in the 1980s, when a whole episode of Gardeners World was filmed from his then garden, an 8 acre organic no dig market garden.

Neither Charles nor myself have a television, so we have arranged to visit friends in his village to watch the programme. I wonder what people new to the idea of no dig gardening will think of Charles’ gorgeous garden? I’m sure it will encourage them to explore this lovely way of growing abundant vegetables whilst caring for the soil and nature.

We found out yesterday that Charles has also been nominated for Best Organic Innovator in the Soil Association BOOM awards – he is on a bit of a roll at the moment!!

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy in my home garden and allotment – sowing, pricking out, potting on, planting. It has been a very dry spring, so new plantings are requiring more hand watering than usual. In my greenhouse I have two heated benches: one is made from two heat mats and the other is made from a soil warming cable buried in sand on a bench. All have thermostat controls and I also use thermometers to check the heat of the compost. The rest of the greenhouse is unheated. Other warmth sensitive seeds are germinated in smaller lidded heated propagators in my house, on window sills. They go out onto the heat mats when I pot them on.

I’ve been loving the abundance in my polytunnel – the cabbages and kale in particular are so delicious and fresh and the early carrots add an extra exciting flavour to meals. Gradually these plants are being eaten and cleared and the ground mulched in readiness for the summer plantings, including some experimental early dwarf French beans which will be planted in the polytunnel this weekend – just as the temperatures are set to drop! I am ready with fleece and bubblewrap to protect them and will also be keeping an eye on the extra early polytunnel potatoes (Swift and Rocket), protecting if the temperatures really do go as low as the forecast suggests. All the other potatoes are in beds in the front and back garden.

The coriander is flowering, more food for the bees and other insects and soon a delicious crop of green coriander seed. I write regular updates about my garden, allotment and work garden on my blog, NoDigHome.

Charles and I spend Wednesday mulching my front garden beds with manure from the allotment up the road. Charles has a trailer, which is much more convenient than putting it in sacks and into the back of my very small car! It was still a lot of hard work, especially for Charles who had the job of heaving the wheelbarrow up the 5 steps to my front garden. The osteoarthritis in my hands means that my ability to heave heavy wheelbarrows up steps has diminished somewhat, so I was especially appreciative of this help.

These beds are on top of horrible soil full of builder’s rubble and goodness knows what else from the 1970s, which is why I decided to use wooden sided raised beds here – it makes a much better growing area for vegetables, even if it does increase habitat for slugs and snails….These were all hiding next to the timber of the middle bed, where the flowers in the side area had grown up against the wood, creating ideal snail habitat.

Half of the middle bed had already been mulched with some of Charles’ mushroom compost because I wanted to sow carrots there a week or so ago, so we spread the composted manure over everywhere else. The bed nearest the road already has second early potatoes and some overwintered spring onions in it: the potatoes will appreciate the lovely mulch, which I can also use to earth them up as they grow.

I’ll be planting some brassicas in the bed nearest to the house over the weekend; haven’t yet decided what will go in the other half of the carrot bed. Possibly a catch crop of radish and then beans or courgettes, when the danger of frost has passed in May.

There’s so much to choose from in the garden and larder – these dishes were made last week from freshly picked or home stored vegetables and fruit. (Except the bread!)

I had a great time visiting the RHS Cardiff show on April 8th. Charles gave a standing room only talk about no dig gardening and I had the opportunity to catch up with my daughter who is studying for an MSc at Cardiff university. It is a wonderful city and this event is one of the nicest RHS shows I’ve been to. As you can see, I loved the colours of the tulips!

Upcoming events include:

Charles and I will be signing copies of our new book, demonstrating some homemade potions and giving tours of the kitchen garden at Roth Bar and Grill, Hauser and Wirth, Bruton on May 1st. We’ll also have some plants for sale for your own allotment or garden.

And on May 7th, we’ll be launching the book and giving talks at the South Downs Green Fair.

We’ll be at the River Cottage Spring Food Fair, giving talks on no dig gardening (Charles) and growing edible flowers (me).

I’m speaking at the South West Permaculture Convergence on June 10th

Charles’ garden at Homeacres is open as part of the Alhampton Open Gardens on June 18th

Spring Equinox

It’s the first day of spring – Happy Ostara! Today’s grey skies and pouring rain transformed into gorgeous sunshine and blue skies mid-afternoon and the forecast for tomorrow is lovely. Birds are busy, bees foraging on early flowers, everything is growing so fast! Read More

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