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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

Making Compost

Making Compost

Composting I’ve a few compost bins scattered around. There’s a big set of 4 built from wood in the field plots, a pair of bins made from pallets in the walled veg plot and a couple of plastic bins. One

In the Greenhouse & Polytunnel

In the Greenhouse & Polytunnel

Despite my worries about the heat causing problems in the greenhouse and polytunnel, they’re actually doing very nicely thank you. Aubergines The aubergines are starting to develop – best plants I’ve grown for years, they obviously love the sun and

A little drop of rain

A little drop of rain

We had some rain this morning – not a lot, about 2 mm, but it did freshen things up. I’m hoping this heatwave doesn’t break with thunderstorms and torrential downpours because the baked ground will not absorb it. We’ve had

Fire Aftermath – Praying for Rain

Fire Aftermath – Praying for Rain

If you’d told me that we’d be hoping for rain here in Snowdonia, I’d have questioned your sanity and laughed. Well I’m not laughing now, it’s been weeks since we saw anything significant. A few bits of drizzle and a

Using a Sprinkler Properly for Efficient Watering

Using a Sprinkler Properly for Efficient Watering

I had an email ranting at me for the sin of using a sprinkler. Fair question although rudely put.  Now I don’t accept that watering vegetables is a waste of water so it comes down to the most efficient way

Quick Catch Up Around the Plots

Quick Catch Up Around the Plots

In theory this wonderful hot sunny weather should mean more time on the plot but it’s not quite working out like that. Most days it’s just too much to do anything in the open after midday until early evening. Much