About Gavin Conway

Moved to the UK from Zimbabwe in 2001. We had a 12 acre plot with a 2 acre normal garden, loads of Koi ponds, a 2 acre veg garden, 3 orchid sheds with over 400 plants, bonsai shed, granny cottage and workshop area.. Comming to the UK and into a 3 bed semi was a shock!! But we knew what to expect and just got on with our lives. I love growing veg and started to grow on my flat garage roof for a few years then moved on to a couple of garden shares then onto a full sized allotment at the end of 2011. I have done loads of work with it and got it looking good. see my blog site at www.gavinconway.net Hope I can help others with info on growing and getting ground and allotments to their liking. Self employed with Kleeneze www.HowWeEarn.com Gavins grafix doing vinyl signs www.gavinsgrafix.co.uk and a personal courier with Yodel..
Gavin Conway

The new season has truly begun…

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender March 23, 2014 Posted No Tags Comment No Comments
2014-03-16 17.05.01L_rs

I've not been doing much on the blog side lately so here goes with some info on the last few months activities. I planted my garlic as normal in September in modules in the greenhouse but they were really very slow this year. I normally plant them out at the plot end of December but this year only in February and very small growth and root system. They seem to be growing well now. I am growing the garlic through weed fabric this year as my onions did really well last year and no weeding was required other than a few hand pulled weeds. Since I made my light grow box in January the seedlings have really been growing well. I eventually had to take the chillies and peppers out when I potted up the show onions.. The chillies have really done well and as it's the first time growing them

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DIY Greenhouse rainwater collector kit..

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender February 6, 2014 Posted No Tags Comment 5 Comments
2014-02-06 19.38.45L_rs

Just a quick evening blog.... I searched for Greenhouse rainwater collector kits on Ebay today for my home GH to collect nutritious rain water for my seedlings. I found some for £18 a pair... Now I don't like to pay much for anything so into the workshop I went to make my own. I always collect bits of copper piping from old baths and basins when I see them in skips as I know I can use bits at the plot from time to time. I also had some thick firm compressed rubber matting from kids play areas which come in handy as kneeler pads for the garden and our ageing knees!! You know the type - just like flip flops are made from.. I cut a piece of rubber mat off a piece that is under the grow box and then cut a few blocks of mat a bit wider and higher than the inside size of the g

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Mmmm new Project – DIY Light Grow Box…

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender January 28, 2014 Posted No Tags Comment No Comments

So..... I was sitting at the Christmas dinner table (on boxing day) with the family and suddenly decided I need a grow box to play with for growing some show onions, a few peppers and chilies.. Bright idea... I had a light box of sorts sitting in my garage for layering my vinyl signs which I had made out of an old cupboard from a skip with some lights inside and a perspex top. Basically a box to lay signs on and then lay another one on top in the correct positions to create different backgrounds etc. I don't use it any more so decided it can be DIY'd into my new grow box.     I removed the lights and door, hacked it shorter and started on the new design. I had previously used 6 energy saver bulbs and had some plugs and switches in my draws. I decided on using 2 bulbs and hav

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How I grew over half a tonne of Veg on my allotment in 2013.. (Super-Blog part 2)


So to continue... Spring Onions... As I said in the part 1 we love our onions.  As well as the normal onions I also have a small bed of multiplying onions - like a spring onion but a bit smaller. I originally planted a few bunches of two or three onions and they soon turned into huge bunches of tall tasty onions which are ideal in stews and soups. They have a totally different taste to normal onions. I dig up a portion of a bunch when required by driving a spade through the bunch and replacing some soil to fill the void!! When the whole bunch has been used I replant a small bunch of 2-5 and in not time they will be ready for eating as well. This way one only needs a square meter or so in the garden for theses.  They over-winter without any problem and jump back into growing mode i

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How I grew over half a tonne of Veg on my allotment in 2013.. (Super-Blog part 1)


Wow - I was quite astounded when I added the quantities of veg that I grew on my allotment last season.. I grew 588 kg. on 165 sq. mt.   My Harvest 2013 After seeing the price of runner beans in town I decided to do a harvest record just to see how much I have grown and priced at supermarket prices.. Some estimates are on the lower side!! Strawberries 40kg = 88punnet @ £2.50 = £225 Broadbeans 6kg @ £1.80 per kg = £11 Peas 6kg @ £2 = £12 Potatoes 90kg @ £1 = £90 Gemsquash 130 @ 50p = £65 Runner beans 31kg @ 6.67 = £207 Courgettes 20kg @ £1.60 = £32 Squashes loads +/- 12 @ £1 = £12 Hubbard squash 4 large @ £4 = £16 Acorn squash 21 @ £1 + £21 Pumpkin 1 @ 2kg @ £2 = £2 Beetroot +/- 25 kg @ £3.3 = £83 Garlic 80 large bulbs @ 50p = £40 Onions 450 @ 2

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Getting my onions planted

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender May 3, 2013 Posted No Tags Comment No Comments
2013-04-27 16.04.14L_rs

Finally got some onions planted last weekend..With the freezing cold winter weather being with us for so long I planted a packet of onion sets in modules to get them going in the greenhouse. I normally plant sets in first week of March but the ground was still frozen so the modules it was. I also planted a few varieties of seed back to January and February to try out this method as I have always used sets. In Zimbabwe we used to grow from seedlings but it was much better growing conditions there.. Just throw some seed in the small seed bed, water and water and water because of the heat and in a few weeks we had seedlings ready to plant out.. This year I also decided to grow the onions through holes in weed suppressant fabric  as my time is a bit limited  due to work commitments so h

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Easter Sunday on the plot

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender April 2, 2013 Posted No Tags Comment No Comments
2013-03-31 12.53.26L_rs

I had a great Easter Sunday at the plot ... It was the first time for quite a while that I could spend the a day there due to the incumbent weather we've been having. So I woke up early.... 'ish... and made a packed lunch of sarnies and some cans of diet coke, packed all my bits I've been collecting and headed off. All the snow has gone but some parts of the plot are still frozen and generally still too cold to plant anything. I have broad beans, onion sets, shallots, peas and potato onions all in modules waiting to go in. I reckon we are nearly a month behind now. Fairly cold to start off with but the sun came out and it was a lovely day. I tidied the shed and emptied all the bags of manure I had placed waiting to be dug in. We get free horse manure mixed with shavings delivered in bla

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Itchy Fingers – I wish Spring would hurry up!!

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender March 20, 2013 Posted No Tags Comment No Comments

I'm itching to get going this year and get things planted out... But I still have to finish preparing the plot as with the strange conditions I've not had a chance to get stuck in and get all the digging done. And the ground is still too cold!! Last year was my first year on the plot that had been neglected for years so I double dug the whole thing to a depth of 18" or so and added loads of manure. This year I'm just turning over one spade depth and then going to rotavate it to fluff it up. I did a few yards a few weeks ago but was still too wet and a bit more last weekend and it was so much drier. So soon I will get stuck in and get it all done. Starting off over the weekend - weather permitting.    The Garlic is doing well but still taking time to really start shooting up. I have a

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Using Weed-Suppressant fabric to grow crops through

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender February 24, 2013 Posted No Tags Comment 5 Comments

This year I have decided to grow a lot of veg through weed suppressant fabric. For a few reasons.... mainly due to running two home based businesses I don't have a lot of time to dig weeds at the plot and secondly it makes for a tidy plot - well I think so and I'm a meticulous geek that likes straight lines and measured spacings. How sad is that!! Last year I was given a part used roll of poly prop type weed fabric and as my first year on the plot I planted all my strawberries through it as well as my courgettes. I just cut slits in it and grew through it. They all did really well and I noticed I had almost no slug damage. I'm hoping it's because maybe they don't like slithering on the fabric... However I did get a few through the planting slits I made. I did throw a few hand-fulls of s

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Growing Onions – “Non Conventional” way

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender February 10, 2013 Posted Tags: Comment 3 Comments
onion seedlings

This year I decided to grow all my onions from seed instead of from sets. I have grown enough to be self sufficient (or almost) for many years now, starting way back when I was growing them on my flat roof-top garden. See my blog here about that..  Then onto my garden shares and now finally on my Allotment..  I used to grow over 1000 sets each year but now cut down to about 400-500 as my two sons have moved out and don't need so many. I also normally do a packet of Japanese winter sets in September/October which I start using on 1st May each year as a filler crop to be used before the main crop is ready. So just before Christmas I planted out a whole bunch of onion seed, fired up the new electric propagator and within a week they were over an inch high!! Wow I was pleased.. then I

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