All About The Garden
Charles Dowding's Long-Handled Dibber
The Charles Dowding Long-Handled Dibber is now back in stock! Get one while they last.
This beautiful dibber is the perfect tool for every gardener. It's made in the US, crafted by expert woodturners, and made of sustainably sourced solid Ash hardwood. It's hand finished to a waterproof, lustrous sheen with food safe, solvent free, non-toxic Odie's Oil.
The 5.5" handle gives great control and the 24" length means less bending and faster planting. The markings along the shaft follow guidelines from world-renowned gardener Charles Dowding and ensure perfect spacing between plants of all types.
This lovely dibber is an heirloom item. It's built to last and highly sought-after by discerning gardeners everywhere. Buy it, love it, use it for a lifetime.
How to use your Dibber, by Charles Dowding.
You can use this tool both for making holes in which you can pop in plants raised in modules, also use it to draw shallow lines on your beds in the surface compost. These lines along a bed will guide your plantings and ensure they are in straight rows. A further use is spacing thanks to the circles we have turned into the wood at different intervals (explained below).
A top tip when dibbing holes is to rotate the dibber as you withdraw it upwards. This makes for a clean hole with little compost sticking to the surface of the dibber.
Make your holes 2 cm deeper than the depth of the module root ball. This means the transplant you pop into the hole will be sitting below surface level, and this is always a good thing, except for the very few plants with almost no stem, such as corn salad.
It is absolutely fine for plant stems to be below surface level, of all vegetables.
On each dibber we have made circles which are to give you spacings between plants.
- The lowest circle is at 15 cm / 6 inches from the tip, for the space between plantings of corn salad and multisown radish.
- The next circle is 22 cm / 8.5 inches above the tip and is my standard space between all plants for salad leaves, also between clumps of spring onions, peas for shoots, spinach, chard, pak choi, coriander and many herbs.
- The third ring is 30 cm /11.5 inches from the tip and measures the distance between plantings of celery, multi sown beetroots and onions, first early potatoes, sweetcorn and broad beans.
- The final spacing is 35 cm / 14 inches which I use for celeriac, rutabaga, calabrese and Chinese cabbage.
The dibber is 60cm / 24 inches long which gives the space between Brussels sprouts, purple sprouting broccoli and cucumbers, also tomatoes at wider spacings in order to decrease the risk of late blight. See my new Skills book for more about spacings.
A general rule is that slow growers need more space and fast-maturing vegetables need less.
Close spacings are a form of companion planting, and are especially helpful to seedlings: they like being close to their mates. Close-spaced seedlings is one reason why interplanting works so well. For all vegetables, grow plants as near to each other as is possible, yet also according to the harvests you would like.
Spacings I give here are for equidistant plantings of vegetables raised in modules or pots. Measurements such as 22 or 30 cm (8.5 or 12 inches), are my best averages for many different vegetables, but you can vary them according to your preferences. Say you like larger onions, then plant multisown clumps at 35cm / 14 inches rather than 30cm / 11.75 inches.
Gardening is easier and quicker when spacings are correct for each plant. At the same time, there are no right or wrong spacings – just good ones make a difference. They play a big part in how plants grow, how much and how easily you harvest, and for how long a time.
Good spacing is the balance point of allowing enough room for successful growth and harvest, yet also without wasting growing space.