UK Veg Gardeners

Gareth Howell's Blog (23)

Not Gar's last chorus bu Adew

I have been picking the brains of the Ukveggardener experts for a good three years now, but family events earlier in the year, lead me to Andalucia for the winter months, hopefully, to avoid the worst of the British weather.

Perhaps I should report my progress or lack of it, during this year.  I am basically a fruit grower. I am going to pick chestnuts in Spain soon,but my enthusiasm for apples, pears, and grapes also is unabated. I got three grafted vines from Vic, last year, but…


Added by Gareth Howell on July 29, 2016 at 8:55 — No Comments

Planning light?

The one thing I have not done is to consider rebuilding the lean-to greenhouse all the way along where it was before the thatch got burnt down a few years back. I just left the foundations thinking i might one day do something. There they are.

I suddenly discovered the little less than perfect Halls Europa Mk.II 84 lean-to the other day and it arrived

within a couple of days. It ain't easy to assemble, just like Meccano.

I suddenly realized that I have the…


Added by Gareth Howell on October 29, 2015 at 16:55 — 1 Comment

Chris de Burgh or Paradise?

There is always something in the garden that I am not quite good enough to do, and it is at times like that I need help from somebody to do it better. Just as I was pondering the complexities of lean-to greenhouse erection today, a savior came along in the form of a former employee, looking for a little paid employment. The one things he is good at...... precisely what I am not! Drills, rawl plugs, screws, and wood! He has even offered to put up a Swift box 5-7me up which I was…


Added by Gareth Howell on October 27, 2015 at 18:16 — 4 Comments

Ripe Grapes

I have had two big problems with the grapes, compared with Apples, pears and other fruit.

The first has been ripening them, which I may now have solved unless we have a dreadful September in coming years and even then...  A little bit of reading goes a long way, and I took some literary advice to cut back the foliage to uncover the grape, which i did about a month ago.   At the expense of some ripe fruit, more due to lack of water than lack of sunshine, I now have a splendid crop of…


Added by Gareth Howell on September 27, 2015 at 10:38 — 1 Comment

Apple crop is ready but where is autumn?!

Thee sequence of events, pollination excellent, water very inadequate has produced an apple crop which is ready to pick now instead of last week in August, which is prolific but short on size. Small apples.  Waiting for them to plump up, with the new rains in the last couple of days may be the answer.

After some discussion here about Celeriac planting last spring time, I took the plung and I now have about 30 healthy looking celeriac plants in tidy, well weeded rows.  I tested…


Added by Gareth Howell on August 14, 2015 at 14:33 — 2 Comments


My efforts with garlic over the last three years have been desperate, but we have had two rather hottish years,

2013/2014, so perghaps i am not to blame.   This year, I dag out one bed to discover to my pleasure that there were a couple of hundred small garlic seedlings, which i had not dug out from last year, so I replanted them formally in a different bed.

They have done all right since February but now the wind has damaged many of them in such a way that I think the whole…


Added by Gareth Howell on June 5, 2015 at 17:39 — 1 Comment

Boulders,Bricks and Beetroot.

 I rather envy people who can talk about  raised beds. The one thing I have been doing over the last 4 years is to lower the level of garden soil to be able to do anything level at all. I planted spuds about 2 weeks ago and dag them up today. Quite pleasing the way the smaller ones had chitted already.

I dag 'em out because I realized when the sun came out that I have got to dig out 20cu m of very mixed sandstone boulders, sandstone and other things beside.  Getting the…


Added by Gareth Howell on April 11, 2015 at 18:57 — 2 Comments


I sometimes wonder about people's loss of knowledge of the seasons.

We have now had about 50 days of winter time. another 40 to go until first day of spring,

On March 21st, if I am not mistaken, we have 12 hours daylight, 12 hours darkness.

Mid spring time is May2nd.

First day of summer 21st June,

Mid summer August 2nd.

First day of Autumn 21st September.

Some office workers/car users wonder whether we have seasons any more due…


Added by Gareth Howell on February 8, 2015 at 13:00 — No Comments

Garden transformation

I have had to change this garden from wild garden to formal garden due to incursions from status seeking neighbours to much,much heavier road use, only a few metres away.…


Added by Gareth Howell on May 29, 2014 at 19:25 — 11 Comments


Added by Gareth Howell on May 24, 2014 at 13:44 — 1 Comment

Brother Gar's Dorset Hermitage

Added by Gareth Howell on May 24, 2014 at 13:43 — No Comments

Sowing grass seed

I dont know whether there is ever a right time to sow grass seed, but March 13th does not seem right.

 Nonetheless I am risking the prospect of a warm late winter/early spring, by planting grass seed for a new lawn beneath the Appletrees.

Added by Gareth Howell on March 13, 2014 at 17:42 — No Comments

Transforming a garden..... little by little.

Converting a garden from a "wild" garden to a highly cultivated one, can take years. I started about five years ago, and the way I am going, it will take me another five before I can put in an application to invite people in from time to time.

Some things are very satisfying, fruit trees being one.

I just discovered the name, in a hard copy tome, of an unusual yellow plant at the back door.

The Jerusalem Sage.  It's a bush with a long flowering…


Added by Gareth Howell on March 3, 2014 at 17:40 — No Comments


I've checked a variety of deep containers to hold the soil in my back passage, which is concreted, but facing due south.   I had to look at the depth of the tap root on one or two of this year's tomato plants, to be sure that I am buying something deep enough to produce as good(Brilliant) tomatoes as I have had this year, but without wasting bed space in non south facing beds.

Jumping the gun a bit I s'pose.  I've had between 15-20lbs of tomatoes nearly all very good, few spoiled, of…


Added by Gareth Howell on September 21, 2013 at 19:32 — No Comments

Obergenius? Yeah!

I started off with about 20 in January; people laughed at them in my splendid new heated min propagator.Some of them died of shame. Others withered at the rude comments but now i have got, along side my fruiting tomatoes some very beautiful AAAAAAAAAAAuberginious tiny fruit!

I'm going to turn professional.

Added by Gareth Howell on July 21, 2013 at 16:10 — No Comments

Air flow for Pants?

I was  not entirely surprised to get a post in this hot weather from an organisation promoting

"air flow for pants", and then... realised.....

Added by Gareth Howell on July 20, 2013 at 7:18 — 2 Comments

Low Impact Living Initiative (LILI)

 Without wishing in any way to draw the interest from Ukveg growers website blogs, the enterprise of LILI has caught my imagniation for some years with regard to the desire for many to return to a rural and working self employed way of life, without being in the thrall of large farming enterprises themselves.

The work LILI and others are doing is different but similar to Stephen's website work so you might be interested to read these two Web pages and follow their…


Added by Gareth Howell on May 29, 2013 at 14:49 — 4 Comments


Today in the south west we have got the first good fruit pollination day since 2011.

It is 60*f, and warmer would be better still.

No prime bee swarms this year; it is just  a little too late. good swarms perhaps.

I have not noticed a good prime swarm year for many years, but I am not involved any more.

Added by Gareth Howell on May 16, 2013 at 10:14 — No Comments

Roland(?) rats and compost heaps

I used to breed Bees and whilst interested in the "piping" of queens which can be heard above the rest of the colony as a lower pitched louder noise, I met a Rat hypnotist from Taiwan; yes a rat hypnotist who pointed out to me that the colony behaviour of rats is exactly the same difference as a colony of bees. They also have a "piping" noise for the King rat, and every colony of rats has a king.

I took the lady in question around some of the Dorset villages to ascertain how many rats…


Added by Gareth Howell on May 8, 2013 at 20:12 — 2 Comments

Rabbit rabbit Rabbit! moley woley holy!

Some times i think i'm clever; some times not quite so clever.  The bak outside my bedroom has been rapidly deteirorating over the last 6-8 weeks and i have been thinking more walling will be necessary.......

I was watering the garlic seedlings with the well water, and decided on the spur of the moment to see if anything would crawl out of a fissure in the bank that didn't oughta be there, if i poured a bit of water down.

To my shock and horror, first one and then another and…


Added by Gareth Howell on May 5, 2013 at 12:04 — 6 Comments

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