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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

Harvesting the Polytunnel

Harvesting the Polytunnel

Well it’s hard to believe it’s August, the weather has been more like autumn at times. It’s a real disappointment after that lovely hot and sunny July. Still, September is often the best summer month for us here so we

Catching Up – Around the Plots

Catching Up – Around the Plots

My last post about the potato blight turned into more of an article than a diary entry and I didn’t even touch on the rest of the plots. So this is the catch-up post! Potatoes Having cut the haulm off

Control for Potato Blight

Control for Potato Blight

We’ve got potato blight. Four words that depress any gardener to say. There was a time when I’d have written ‘I noticed that potato blight has started so I’ve sprayed with..’ or ‘I’ve had a warning from blightwatch that potato

Victim of Success

Victim of Success

When we moved here we had to fell a couple of trees and cut an overgrown privet hedge back from the 30 foot high to about 3. Not ideal for the birds, but we’ve since planted a lot of trees.

Back to Positive

Back to Positive

First job was to strip the fallen brassica tunnel back down. Snipping all the cable ties, what a waste of time. Oh well, worse things have happened before and will probably happen again. I did a bit of weeding and

Man plans, God laughs

Man plans, God laughs

There’s a Yiddish proverb, “Man plans, God laughs” and it’s been very apt this week. I’ll explain what’s gone pear shaped to steal another phrase. We’re having some work done on the house, re-painting and replacing the facia boards and