The No Dig Method

Why No Dig?

I first came across this reaction to tradition in relation to cereal cultivation, especially in the work of Masanobu Fukuoka, a brilliant Japanese agriculturalist and philosopher whose rejection of conventional methods has provided inspiration worldwide.

As a basis of organic farming, it has been the subject of various trials from the mid-twentieth century, most notably in the UK, since 1982, by Charles Dowding, whose farm I had the pleasure of visiting in 2007.

The theory behind it is simple. Annual digging weakens the organisms that keep the soil healthy, and offers no benefit in return.

It needs a healthy soil to begin with, with plenty of organic material – although this can be built up over time. It needs to be kept free of compaction, but not to the extent that the odd footfall needs be avoided.

I was sceptical at first, but having used this method now for over a decade I would strongly recommend it four its simplicity and effectiveness.