Category Archives: Vegetable Growing

Growing Vegetables with Charles Dowding

Charles Dowding is guest speaker for Grow it Yourself Dorset

Renowned local organic vegetable gardener, teacher and author, Charles Dowding will be the guest speaker at Grow it Yourself Dorset on 7 May. He is an inspiring speaker and immensely knowledgeable vegetable grower, and entry is only £3, so it’s an evening not to be missed if you grow your own food or would like to start. It is also an opportunity to pick up a signed copy of his latest books.

The evening will be at the Woodhouse Gardens Pavilion in Blandford (inside the walled garden by the Post Office), from 7.30-9. For more information see


GIY comes to Dorset!

Grow it Yourself International is a global movement of food growers that started in Ireland and aims to create a healthier, happier, world by encouraging everyone to grow some of their own food. There are now over 50,000 GIYers worldwide and over 800 food growing projects involved in the movement. The latest GIY group has started up in Dorset.

GIY Dorset will meet on the first Wednesday of each month starting from 5 February 2014. The meetings are free and are at the Woodhouse Gardens Pavilion at Blandford Forum. Group organizer, Wendy Pillar, says ‘GIY Dorset is a social group where everyone interested in growing food can get together, learn from each other, and swap seeds, tips, recipes and plants. We will be putting on regular expert guest speakers and visits to kitchen gardens. The idea is not ‘gardening nightschool’, but to have fun!’

For more information see

or contact Wendy at or 01258 817883.

A-bun-dance and sub-tropical greenhouse in Chao Sobral Portugal 2013


Would you like to learn how to create your food forest ?

Yes, we humans are able to learn how to design for a high level abundance and diversity of food never seen in wild settings.

The long road to

Experience is my best teacher – Working from patterns to details.

In Chão Sobral, October is a month full of fruits as you can observe here:

Below, is about a small piece of land, on a rocky ridge crest, that we can flood irrigate, and includes the following plants

Extreme stacking

already planted – some old, some young trees:

  • olives
  • tangerines 2 kinds
  • lemon
  • apple 3 kinds
  • mulberry 2 kinds
  • peach (already canopy – shade)
  • holly tree
  • walnut
  • hazel nut
  • kiwi vines
  • grape vines
  • goji berry
  • black currants
  • rasberry
  • blue berry – mirtiles
  • thornless black berry
  • kaki
  • fig
  • orange trees 2 – in pots
  • feijoa – in pot
  • elder berry
  • lime – linden
  • magnolia
  • camelia japonica
  • albizia lophanta
  • cassia corymbosa
  • many flowers!

it’s going to be a dance – growing together!

Inside this plot, in the policarbonate panel – polytunnel green house, another dance-party:

already planted

  • grafted and non grafted avocado
  • grafted cherimoya anona
  • lemon
  • strawberry guava
  • kumquat – a dwarf citrus
  • pepino dulce
  • lemon grass
  • verbena
  • aloe
  • passion fruit
  • physalis
  • Yacóns: Smallanthus sonchifolius, Syn.: Polymnia edulis, P.sonchifolia (
  • jerusalem artichoke
  • tamarillo – brazil tomatoe – tree tomato

So beside these perenial plants we can also add the normal annual crops – we just need to find the edge!

– current / May 2013, yields from this green house: cabbage, potatoe, new zealand spinach, kumquat, lemons.

– it also functions as a plant nursery

Up dates from the evolution of these living systems will be at:

Looking forward to hear from you and your abun-dance experience!


João Gonçalves

“Permacultura (Cultura Permanente) é um sistema ético de design ecológico.”

(+351) 96 96 80 009

Chão Sobral – Oliveira do Hospital – Serra do Açor


Permacultura na Serra do Açor – Portugal

“Comida que nunca acaba” / Permacultura no Malawi

Centro de Ecologia Integral


Response from Wendy of Dorset:

Oh for the climate to grow that list of fruit! Although, apart from the citrus and avocado, I do grow most of them, with over 40 species of fruit in the orchard, greenhouse and polytunnel – despite the weather! I’m working on the citrus, but avocados are a bigger challenge in Dorset.

Seeds of Freedom

Take time out this weekend to see whats going on with our seed stocks worldwide.

Sturminster Community Garden Project at the High School News

Thanks for coming along to the garden on Monday and helping with the weeding and planning.

We planted ( I think it was) 8 Raspberry plants and allocated out some of the beds. There is a lot of scope for more to be done with the main bed and the remaining raised beds.

We estimated that an initial load of about 4 cubic metres of top soil would be required and some sand to help break up the clay in the main bed.

Richard is kindly looking at the options for ordering the soil. David Urmpston is interested in building a compost heap and will also look into obtaining manure. Keen we source any materials through Eve, so once everyone has identified any sources of material, please let Eve know so that they can be ordered from the office – even if free to us.

Once Richard has identified the source for the soil, we can arrange another session at the site to take delivery and to move it into the beds.

Richard was keen to see some herbs grown there. This is a great idea, so if anyone has any thoughts on sourcing herbs and how best to establish them, please respond.

I have sketched out the current arrangement of beds and the initial allocation and the location of the Rasberries. Hope this is OK.

Kind regards. Chris

This project is supported by TTSN and I asked Chris if we could do anything more to help.

His reply !!

Thanks Vince. Much appreciated. If you spot any older men who would benefit from the social opportunity,please let me know and will be pleased to contact them.

Kind regards, Chris

Can we help find likely members for Chris and the project team ??

Blandford Museum Victorian Garden Club Potato Day – Sunday 27th January 10am – 2pm

Sunday 27th January 2013 10am-2pm – Blandford Museum Victorian Garden Club is hosting a Potato Day in association with Pennard Plants at Pimperne Village Hall DT11 8UZ

Following the success of our first Potato Day in March 2012, we are pleased to be running another event in 2013. An opportunity to buy your seed potatoes early and get the varieties you want !

Dozens of varieties of potatoes for sale by the single tuber, onion sets, shallots, garlic, Heritage Seeds, fruit trees, rhubarb crowns and much more.

Pennard Plants have been running these events throughout the West Country and beyond, for several years. This year the Dorset venues are Bridport (12th January), Pimperne (27th January), Drimpton (9th Feb) and Lychett Matravers (2nd March).

The events are advertised by Pennards through various websites; the Blandford Museum Victorian Garden is advertising locally to more than 50 Dorset garden interest and other groups and in the National press.

Orders placed directly with Pennards may be collected on the day; debit/credit card facilities will be available.

All are welcome to this event, we will have craft and produce stalls, a plant ID competition and a children’s potato printing session. Refreshments will be served; drinks, homemade cakes and light lunches.

Entrance charge 50p, children free.

The venue will be well signed from all the access roads around Blandford and through Pimperne to the Village Hall, where there is ample free parking.

We are pleased that this is now an annual occasion in the local gardening calendar and hope we can rely on your support.

Thank you.

For further details please contact Heather 01258 458678

Sunday 4th March, 10am – 2pm, Potato Day at Blandford Museum

Please vote and help Age Concern North Dorset:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a trustee of Age Concern North Dorset and we have applied for funding from Nat West Community Force to establish an allotment in Sturminster targeted towards helping elderly men (although women would also be most welcome) who may be isolated, bereaved and lonely in the Sturminster area and surrounding villages. Our traditional services (lunch club, tea and biscuits, befriending) have not proven as popular with elderly men as with women, but we have identified a significant need in the area to introduce activities that will appeal to them.

The intention is to provide a secure environment where the men can meet socially and potentially teach younger people how to grow vegetables in an allotment to their mutual benefit. This has been highly successful in Dorchester and other parts of the country under Age UK and Age Concern direction. We will use Age UK’s tried and tested framework and approach for setting up this service and its on-going management to protect all participants.

For us to win a grant from Nat West’s fund, we need to secure votes from local people in support of our project. I would be grateful if you would be prepared to publicise this within your charitable community and contacts to maximise our chances of winning the funds for the local community. Voting starts on Monday 26th September and anyone is entitled to vote on-line. Please see the Nat West web site below for more information on our project (Men in Sheds) and our web site for confirmation of my credentials:

Nat West will announce the voting instructions on Monday on the above web site.

Thanks in advance for your help. Please feel free to call me to discuss this further. I would be happy to brief you further on the project.

Kind regards, Chris Spackman – Age Concern’s office on 01258 475582

Jacqui Wragg
Community Resource Worker
SturQuest Community Office
The Exchange
Old Market Hill
Sturminster Newton
DT10 1FH

01258 471456
email –