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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

Heatwave Breaks, Polytunnel Problems

Heatwave Breaks, Polytunnel Problems

Yesterday (Wednesday) was the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. It’s hard to believe that the nights will be drawing in again now until the winter solstice when the cycle of the year starts again. If you’re interested

Moving Ahead This Year

Moving Ahead This Year

Things are moving on fairly well this season. The polytunnel has made a huge difference to my growing here. My only regret is not going for one some years back. The sweetcorn is shooting up now and the runner beans

Organic Hydroponics – Is it possible?

Organic Hydroponics – Is it possible?

I had an email that posed an interesting question: is it possible to grow organically and hydroponically? So my thoughts on whether it is possible to combine organic methods with hydroponic growing. Most commercial tomato growers in Northern Europe grow

Harrod Horticulture Voucher Codes for June 2017

Harrod Horticulture Voucher Codes for June 2017

Extra Exclusive June Offers for Us! When buying from Harrod Horticulture you can get 10% Extra Discount off most products by using the Harrod Horticulture Voucher Code JHTEN but if you spend over £50.00 you can have a free gift

From Drought to Flood

From Drought to Flood

From Drought to Flood Just two weeks ago the ground was dry and the sun strong. So, like most gardeners, I was moaning that we needed some rain. I certainly got my wish – since then we’ve had 270mm of

Strawberries soon! & New Growing Bed

Strawberries soon! & New Growing Bed

Strawberries Soon! I noticed the strawberries aren’t far off now. I think they’re my favourite fruit although I prefer blackcurrants when it comes to jam. As the fruits are swelling and ripening now, a dose of tomato fertiliser is in