We recently caught up with Richard Chivers, an organic no-dig allotment gardener, and the Co-Host of a new podcast, The Seed Pod. The principle of no-dig gardening is to not disturb soil life, allowing for the natural processes to be preserved. It’s a fascinating and ideal approach for allotment and kitchen gardening.
F: Can you tell us a bit about you and your relationship with gardening?
RC. Gardening came from a love of food and cooking. In my mid-twenties I grew some tomatoes in pots in my small backyard and I was completely hooked. Growing food opened up a world of new varieties and flavours and allowed me to eat seasonally with ingredients that often are not found in the supermarkets. I’ve had my current allotment for five years and it is such an important part of my life. As well as being a source of wonderful ingredients for the kitchen, it’s a close connection with nature and a powerful part of my physical and mental wellbeing.
F. How did you become interested in no-dig gardening in particular?
RC. No-dig gardening is a hugely beneficial approach to take. Initially, I became interested as it is so easy to do in the winter. Here in Wales, winter can be a very wet time. The traditional approach to digging an allotment is very difficult. When I first discovered no-dig a few years ago, it made my life so much easier as you simply add a layer of organic matter such as compost or manure to the top of the beds. However, there are significant benefits to soil life and structure and therefore plant health as a result of not digging our soils too. As an organic gardener, the soil is the most important part of growing food and the best way of maintaining healthy soil is by not digging or tilling it.
F. Can you describe or give tips on how you might use Falcon enamelware in and around the garden and in your kitchen at the moment?
RC. Falcon enamelware is so versatile and resilient. The jugs are perfect for displaying cut flowers and there’s hardly a week that goes by where I’m not roasting up vegetables from the plot or combining them into a pie and this is where the pie dishes are fantastic. The allotment allows me to grow fresh produce all year and I think a bowl of green leaves in one of the large salad bowls are pretty much a perfect accompaniment to any meal (as pictured).
F. How have you been prepping your garden for the year ahead?
RC. It’s spring but temperatures are still pretty cold and the weather can be quite dramatic. I’m finishing adding compost to the allotment beds and I’m starting to sow seeds indoors or in a small greenhouse in my garden. This is always an exciting time for a gardener and I’m enjoying sorting out seed packets, making plans and hoping this will be a year full of flowers and vegetables.
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