Spring: sowing and planting into surface compost outside, by Charles Dowding

Jeremie Litzler
  • Permaculture
  • Gardening
  • Charles Dowding
  • No Dig
  • Spring
About 2 min

When spring comes, it’s time to sow and plant your new crops.

Thanks to Charles Dowding for sharing his wisdom and knowledge! I wrote the following notes watching the video published on Charles Dowding’s channel. You can watch it using this YouTube linkopen in new window.

Before you sow

You have applied compost on your beds with compost in the beginning of the past winter.

Now, before you sow your seeds, use a rake to break up the remaining lumps of compost to create a nice smooth surface.

Use your feet to break any lumps. Walking on a compost bed is fine because it needs to be firm and you can’t compact compost by walking on it.

Sowing carrots with radish

Draw lines with a wood stick (if you don’t own a triangular hoeopen in new window).

Make them not too deep (about 3-4 cm).

Sowing in compost is absolutely fine, unlike some may say.

Radish tip

If you sow your radishes with your carrots, you will know where the carrots are. The first sprout very quickly while the latter take more time to come up.

Finish the sowing with covering the lines drawn with compost and walk on the lines to firm the compost once again.

Planting seedlings grown in modules

The tool to perform the task is a spade handle which has a slightly pointed and round extremity that is perfect to make holes in the soil.

You can create your own with a tree branch or an old space handle.

The width of the handle or branch should be about the same as the modules you’re going to plant.

To plant lettuce, use a spacing of 25 cm so that you can let them grow big.

Charles picks up the outer leaves to eat for a long period of time. It provides a lot of food from the same plants.

When you plant the seedlings, set them deep so they’re sturdier.

Covering a bed with fleece

When it’s still early spring, you may need to install a fleece (a white cover to protect the plants from the cold).