Please contact me for more information about designing your own no dig kitchen garden. No Dig gardens work in harmony with nature, so are naturally beneficial for wildlife whilst also being easy to keep weed free, highly productive and beautiful.
I created an almost instant vegetable garden on grass without digging, at the Hadspen Estate, Somerset for Niall Hothouse to feed workers on a his project there over the summer and beyond. Visiting the gardens at Hadspen a year later, Mary Keen called it “exemplary” (she didn’t mention my name in the article, I had also created the Bar Garden there). A visitor during the first year commented: “Steph has created a productive and beautiful garden in a remarkably short space of time. It was grass and dry soil in April, now just four months later there are beds full of sweetcorn, tomatoes, salad, cabbages, potatoes and sunflowers, with almost no weeds anywhere. And the beds have no wooden sides, the only material purchased was compost which she laid on top. Seeing it believing.”
The Bar Garden at Hadspen was the idea of Cath and Ahmed, owners of local restaurant At The Chapel. I helped them create the garden entirely no dig directly on top of the weedy grass and supplied them with herbs and vegetable plants, all of which could be used for making tisanes and cocktails. Now that Hadspen has changed hands, the Bar Garden will be recreated within the orchard at the restaurant itself.
The kitchen garden I run now had an impressive existing structure, my main work was to rejuvenate the soil which had been sadly neglected by the previous gardeners and was almost lifeless – there was scarcely a worm. Three years later the soil is full of life and energy. Penelope Hobhouse has called my garden here ‘amazing’ and is impressed that I grow everything on my own and part time, a testament to the efficiency of no dig gardening. It was featured as part of an article in Gardens Illustrated.
I helped Charles Dowding set up his garden at Homeacres, again on very weedy pasture, entirely no dig.
In addition to permanent kitchen gardens, I have created many educational pop up gardens at festivals where they were used to teach people about growing. This year I am creating one at the Bath and West Show, with Charles.