Self sufficient gardening.

Food production in the backyard garden and allotment by an always realistic and often heretical gardener with a no nonsense attitude.

John Hayes

My gardening successes

My pear crop is very good most years

Hopefully some of my past successes will inspire you to get your gardening gloves on and have a go. I do a lot of experimenting, this is the page of things that worked and the next page is those things that didn't ! Last years…

Continue reading...
John Hayes

My gardening failures.

The perfect looking courgette, until you turn it over.

Every gardener has disasters and failures in the vegetable patch and I am no exception. This page is designed to make you feel better when it all goes tits up despite your best efforts. The 2021 leek harvest: Despite planting nearly 200 leek¬†seedlings from 4…

Continue reading...
John Hayes

Seeds

Some of this year seed supply

A relatively small number of seeds is required for planting the average city vegetable garden or allotment, but these should be obtained in ample time and should be of the highest quality available. When it comes to seeds, the best are the cheapest in the…

Continue reading...
John Hayes

Money

Making charcoal to profit from the land

Image above: 8 cubic metre charcoal burner making hardwood lump charcoal. Gardeners are busy people but they often find themselves in a position where they have to make some money from the land they own or rent. Owning land comes with responsibilities. Fences need to…

Continue reading...
John Hayes

Tools

A selection of gardening tools

Very few tools are necessary for a small backyard or allotment garden. It is better to buy a few simple, high-grade, substantial tools that will serve you well for many years than equipment that is poorly designed or made of cheap or low grade materials…

Continue reading...
John Hayes

Foraging

Wild growing plums in a hedgerow near me

Foraging, sometimes also known as wild food scavenging, is the act of finding wild fruits, mushrooms, nuts and berries when they are at their seasonal best. Foraging is as old as the human race and it's how all of our ancestors helped feed themselves. Foraging…

Continue reading...
John Hayes

Indoor

Sea of green baby leaf lettuce growing indoors

Indoor growing involves growing plants inside a house, greenhouses and poly-tunnels or hoop houses. From a few lettuces, radishes or fresh herbs on a windowsill to a garage full of vegetables in the winter or fresh cucumbers all year, it is easy to grow anything…

Continue reading...
John Hayes

Livestock

Livestock like chickens are important for small producers

Animals need space and there are strict limits on what sort of livestock you can keep inside county boundaries or city limits. The keeping of farm animals or livestock is also the most regulated pastime for the backyard farmer. Most backyard livestock keepers choose to…

Continue reading...
John Hayes

Preserve

Making my own jam at home

If you are like me, around the end of summer and the beginning of the Fall you get more produce than you can handle and everything seems to ripen all at the same time. Food preservation by definition is the prevention of the growth of…

Continue reading...
John Hayes

Drink

My homemade plum and sloe gins

The header image above is the difference between last years damson (lighter colour) and Sloe (Darker colour) Gins. I make quite a few of my own drink every year, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Home-made lemonade is far superior the the store bought stuff and Sloe…

Continue reading...
John Hayes

Fruit

a pear grown in my backyard garden

I have grown a great many different types of fruit successfully over the years and even managed to grow figs, pineapples and kiwis in Yorkshire, a place in the north of England noted for being cold and wet. Below: Figs growing in my poly-tunnel. Fruit…

Continue reading...
John Hayes

Allotment

Broccolli growing on my allotment

What is allotment? An allotment garden or community garden plot is a piece of land allocated or rented to an individual to allow them to grow food and flowers for themselves and their family. Allotments allow certain activities and buildings like greenhouses and shed…

Continue reading...
John Hayes

Hydroponics

An aubergine growing hydroponically under growlights indoors

People's interest in how their food is produced has grown dramatically during the last years. More customers demand "safe" food that is grown in a healthy, careful manner and is free of chemical contaminants. As a result, more people are opting to produce their own…

Continue reading...
John Hayes

Vegetables

A young courgette growing in my polytunnel

This site is dedicated to the home vegetable gardener and was created to be a simple, realistic and practical guide to growing a vegetable garden. From those of you growing in small containers and raised beds to those of you growing in small fields, it…

Continue reading...
John Hayes

Earth

The raised beds in my backyard garden

The soil on your land is of vital importance and will have a big influence on how well your crops do. Therefore its important to get to know your soil and understand how you can improve and maintain it. The quality of the soil in…

Continue reading...
John Hayes

About

My biggest ever pumpkin

My name is John Hayes. I grew my first tomatoes when I was 9 and I have grown vegetables and fruit in North Yorkshire since 1998. Below: This years giant pumpkin which got to 61 inches and 30 stone or 190 Kg despite the terrible…

Continue reading...