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.
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
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.
Cucumber Success, Sweet Potatoes, Savoys
The weather here has been great, sunny and warm. As a gardener it is compulsory to moan about the weather, so it’s too hot in the afternoon and too dry. This means time spent watering that could be spent on…
For Peat’s Sake. The Peat Ban
Peat is to be banned for home growers next year. Is it justified and does it make sense? Having looked at the evidence, I don’t believe it does. First of all, finding unbiased information isn’t easy on this subject. When…
From Squash to Strawberries
I really should keep up better with my diary but the truth is I’m tired when I come in at night and don’t feel like going on the computer. In the morning I’m rushing through what I have to so…
Problems with Coir Based Compost Growing Medium
With a ban looming for peat based composts, home growers are increasingly trying out coir based composts. Many are hitting problems. I’ve had a number of emails recently about problems with coir based seed and potting composts. This email from…
Yes we have new potatoes!
The Casablanca potatoes in the polytunnel are now producing. I’d had a feel about in the compost last week but apart from a couple of pea-sized tubers, couldn’t find any ready to harvest. I thought it might be a few…
Buying in Plants
Just some thoughts about buying in plants instead of growing from seed. I prefer growing from seed but sometimes it makes more sense to buy in young plants. This year I was tight for space with a greenhouse being refurbished…