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

Tomatoes, potatoes & strawberries

Tomatoes, potatoes & strawberries

After Monday’s storm and Tuesday’s day of drizzle the evening was lovely so went into the greenhouse to side shoot the tomatoes and start wrapping them in the support strings to climb. On the last one, a marmande, I got

Welsh Cherry Tree in Polytunnel

Welsh Cherry Tree in Polytunnel

A bit amazing for Wales, at least this part of Wales, it’s been too dry. Usually the weather forecast promises sun and then changes to rain but the last weeks it’s been the opposite. I had to water the raised

Polytunnel Temperatures

Polytunnel Temperatures

I’ve been enjoying the terrific weather this week, it’s been better than summer! OK, not quite as warm as summer but bright warm sunshine and blue skies beat the monsoon season we often get. One sunny morning I went up

Back Online, Computer Repaired

Back Online, Computer Repaired

You might have noticed I’ve not been online for a while, the reason is that just as I was uploading a new diary post my computer went bang. I mean, literally bang along with a flash and a puff of

What is even better than a Vitopod?

What is even better than a Vitopod?

As you probably know, I think the Vitopod is about the best propagator you can get. It’s a masterpiece of British design, versatile and durable. You can use it for germination, bringing on seedlings and over-wintering tender plants. Accurate temperature

Playing & Polytunnel

Playing & Polytunnel

Well Good Friday was anything but good in terms of the weather. It was cold, raining and at times we were in the clouds. A thoroughly miserable day. Down the hill I watched as some brave soul climbed a large