All talks take place at Dulverton Town Hall, Fore Street, Dulverton.
7.00pm for 7.30pm start unless shown otherwise.
Light refreshments on arrival.
18th January-CHARLES DOWDING – NO DIG ABUNDANCE AND FEWER WEEDS. An illustrated, one hour talk on how to encourage soil life and enjoy easier harvests, followed by questions and answers. Report on this talk HERE
KEARNEY – MEDICAL HERB FARMER & HOW I PROPATE HERBS. Helen graduated with honours in
herbal medicine in 2012 and now runs a 5.5acre organic off-grid herb farm at
Wellington. The herbs grown are made into medicines and other products. She
also teaches and talks on the benefits of commonly found hedgerow plants.
15th March-HENRY CRUWYS – GROWING VEGETABLES FOR SHOWING. Henry will be imparting some of his knowledge on growing for showing. Tips on how and when to plant and feed our vegetables ready for the show and how to make sure your vegetables fit the category you enter.
This evening includes the AGM and Cheese & Wine event, doors open at 6.00 pm, to start proptly at 6.30 pm. see here.
19th April-CLAIRE HART – GROWING UP! VERTICAL GROWING. Claire will be talking on making the
most of small gardens, using every bit of space available. Look upwards and
fill that space, the use of companion plants, successional sowing and crop
17th May – STEVEN
GRIFFITHS-ABBOTSBURY GARDENS – PAST, PRESENT &
FUTURE. Steven Griffiths is presently the curator of
Abbotsbury subtropical gardens. He has been responsible for implementing the
restoration of the historic 18th century woodland valley garden. He
has scoured the world looking for new and interesting plants from Chile, Borneo
and Myanmar. In his 27 years at Abbotsbury he has “perfected the 30 acre site
into a subtropical paradise”.
21st June-IAN LAWRENCE- HOW TO SHOW YOUR VEGETABLES. Ian has run
his own nursery and worked on large estate gardens. He has judged many shows
and will talk us through all aspects of presentation for showing vegetables.
There will be a question and answer session after his talk.
ADDISON-SOFT FRUIT GROWNG. John has been in horticulture for
50+ years and in that time has been a judge at the Chelsea Flower Show and a
part time teacher at Cannington College. He will be talking on all aspects of
soft fruit cultivation, pruning, pests and disease and selecting for storage.
FISHER-MAKING THE MOST OF A SMALL GARDEN. Sue has an extensive horticultural career which spans
a period of 35 years. She currently writes for BBC Gardeners’ World and has
co-authored books with Carol Kleine. With a wealth of knowledge Sue will be
able to offer design tips, suggestions and growing advice to inspire and
achieve maximum value from a small garden.
15th November-KATHERINE CROUCH-NEW TRICKS FOR OLD GARDENERS. Katherine was BBC Gardener of the
Year 1999 and BBC Gardener of the Decade 2008. She also won Gold at the Chelsea
Flower Show on behalf of Kings Seeds. She has also been a speaker on garden
design at Cannington College. She will be giving a presentation on garden
plants that are suitable for low maintenance and retirement gardens. Followed
by a demonstration on tools and techniques.
TALK BY CHARLES DOWDING
– ‘NO-DIG’ GARDENING
talk of 2018 was given by Charles Dowding on the benefits of ‘no-dig’
gardening. Talking to a packed ‘house’, which included a large number of
non-members from as far afield as Taunton, Bridgwater and Tiverton, Charles
explained how for the past 30+ years he has used this method of gardening at
his various home locations in Somerset.
championing organic gardening on his acre and a half market garden in 1982 his
methods were at first seen as revolutionary and even subversive! But it wasn’t
until he was visited by Geoff Hamilton and the BBC Gardeners’ World team that
his organic approach was viewed more favourably but the ‘no-dig’ aspect was
largely overlooked at that time.
persevered with his beliefs and methods and has proven that the ’no-dig’
approach to gardening really does work! Having moved to a former nursery in
2012 where the soil was compacted and covered in broken glass from former
greenhouses he set about clearing the site and five years later grows an
abundance of weed-free crops of fruit, vegetables and flowers using the
a slide presentation, Charles explained the methods he uses and comparing the
slides of the ‘no-dig’ grown vegetables with those grown by traditional
gardening methods ie digging and clearing the site before planting, it was
obvious to us all that his methods do work! By the use of several layers of
compost (your own, if you can produce enough) it inhibits the growth of weeds
even couch grass and bindweed, he claims! By not digging the soil prior to
planting moisture is retained and the natural organisms in the soil remain
intact and the roots of the plants can extract the nutrients directly. Fewer weeds
germinate with this covering of compost and the soil is warmer in the winter
months thus producing earlier crops.
written several books on the subject and conducts day and weekend courses from
At the end
of his talk a lively question and answer session ensued until our Chairman had
to call a halt to the evening to allow Charles to start his journey home! It
was certainly an interesting evening; how many of those there will adopt his
methods? It might be worth trying a trial bed to see if it