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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

Quick Catch-up

Quick Catch-up

I’m starting treatment next week with a course of injections for a vitamin B12 deficiency. Hopefully I’ll be back up to speed soon. I’m getting some things done with the help of my son-in-law. Keeping up with the diary has

June Exclusive Offers & Voucher Codes

June Exclusive Offers & Voucher Codes

Exclusive voucher codes for gardening equipment, seaweed feed plus our books with free seeds and postage offer. Harrod Horticultural Discount Voucher Code Harrod Horticultural – our exclusive voucher discount code. Get 10% off at the checkout using Voucher Code JHTEN

Weed Free Brassica Cage Setup

Weed Free Brassica Cage Setup

For years now I’ve grown the bulk of my leafy brassicas under nets. Now I’ve made it virtually weed free as well as pest free. Growing leafy brassicas like cabbages, cauliflowers, calabrese etc. under netting has two benefits. Firstly the

Potatoes arriving, Sweetcorn planted, Shredder Problem

Potatoes arriving, Sweetcorn planted, Shredder Problem

There’s a lot going on at the moment but it’s always a matter of running to keep up with everything. My plan to ease off this year came to nothing. With all that’s going on in the world, I want

Fruitful – Finally!

Fruitful – Finally!

Although we love it where we are, up a hill in Snowdonia, the growing conditions could best be described as challenging. We’ve planted a number of fruit trees over the years which haven’t performed too well. Slow growth and blossom

Potatoes to Tomatoes

Potatoes to Tomatoes

Taking advantage of the decent weather to catch up outside. I’m afraid things had fallen behind schedule but we’re doing our best to catch up whilst the we can. The last of the potatoes have gone in – only a