Welcome to the Allotment Garden Diary

Welcome to my allotment garden diary. Quite simply this is a record of our success and failures growing our own, gardening and trying to live the good life.

John Harrison on Allotment

John Harrison on the allotment plot

A diary is actually a really useful tool for the gardener. It helps you keep track of what worked for you and what didn’t. Often a variety of vegetable that does well in one situation or area will fail to thrive in another, so keeping track of what was planted and where is important.

The weather is important as well, keeping track of when the first and last frosts are in your area helps you plan. Of course the weather varies from year to year but eventually you’ll build up a pattern for your plot. Relying on the weather office isn’t that useful, we’ve seen them saying it’s bright sunshine when we’re under cloud and it’s pouring down.

Another important thing to note is yield and flavour. Yield is obvious but flavour needs a little explanation. I’m convinced that when you grow you’re own your taste changes. A carrot is not just a carrot nor a potato just a chipper or masher. You find flavours that you and your family like.

Incidentally, the flavour of any vegetable doesn’t depend just on the variety but is altered according to where it is grown and the conditions. When you think of wine and those experts saying things like ‘from the chalky slopes on the south side of the vineyard’ it’s not so surprising that a variety of potato grown in one place can taste differently when grown in another and that taste can change depending on the weather.

Our Books on Vegetable Growing

I’ve got 8 published books, which you read more about here: Allotment Garden Books

Vegetable Growing Month by Month

My First Book

My first book, Vegetable Growing Month by Month, is firmly aimed at those starting out but there are a few tips in there that help the experienced grower. The second, The Essential Allotment Guide,  is really for those who want to get or who have an allotment.

The third book, Vegetable, Fruit & Herb Growing in Small Spaces, was based on our experience when we had a completely paved over, concrete garden. It tells how to make a small garden productive as well as decorative and still leave room for the children to have fun in. Even if you just have a patio, there are things you can grow and eat.

 Storing & Preserving Your Produce

If you grow vegetables then you’re certain to be interested in what you eat. Val Harrison shares her favourite  recipes on our recipes pages. You may be surprised at how many sauces & ketchups not to mention chutneys and jams we’ve got great recipes for.

Val & I have written two books on the subject, Easy Jams, Chutneys & Preserves and How to Store Your Home Grown Produce.
Allotment John

Harvesting Sarpo Mira Potatoes

Harvesting Sarpo Mira Potatoes

Keeping Ahead in Good Weather

Keeping Ahead in Good Weather

We’ve been treated to a few beautiful days, more like summer than early spring with warm sun shining from blue skies. I do get fed up of the weather here on the west coast with it’s seemingly endless wind and

Cheap Thermostat Control for Propagators

Cheap Thermostat Control for Propagators

My new thermostat control for the old propagators arrived. How they manage to make these things and send them half way around the world so cheaply is a wonder to me! We pay a fortune to just post a book

Spring Equinox

Spring Equinox

A Happy Vernal Equinox to You! Today is an important day in the garden calendar, from now until the autumn equinox the days will be longer than the nights in the Northern Hemisphere. The reverse being true for the southern.

Progress on the Plot

Progress on the Plot

Well the weather has been up and down which hasn’t made things easy. Yesterday, however, was magnificent. A vintage day. It was chilly but bright sunshine with hard blue skies. It was hard to believe the forecast for rain and

Re-thinking No-Dig Systems

Re-thinking No-Dig Systems

I’ve always been doubtful of no-dig systems. I’ve got a number of reasons for this. Firstly I tend to stick to what I know works and traditional double digging mixing in organic matter to add humus certainly does improve the

Harrod Horticultural & Twowests Voucher Codes

Harrod Horticultural & Twowests Voucher Codes

This month I’ve got us exclusive offers from both Harrod Horticulture & Twowests. The voucher discount codes are listed below: Harrod Horticultural Discount Voucher Codes Free Insect Protection Mesh We’ve actually got three discount codes you can use (not all