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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

Allotment Questions about the virus lock down

Allotment Questions about the virus lock down

I’m getting lots of questions about allotmenting in this situation. Far too many to reply to everyone individually, sorry. Hopefully this will help answer most of them. NB these are my personal opinions and not official in any way.  How

Virus Update, Allotments Open, Books & Tools

Virus Update, Allotments Open, Books & Tools

Well it’s been a busy few days but not doing what I want to be doing. This pandemic is having some surprising effects Well Done and Thank You First and foremost, 500,000 have signed up following the NHS request for

3 Signs of Spring

3 Signs of Spring

It’s definitely spring and I can prove it! First we’ve gone past the spring equinox. The days are now longer than the nights and will get longer until the solstice. Second, the sun has been shining and it’s getting warmer.

Growbag Waterer

Growbag Waterer

I’m trying out the Hozelock growbag waterer. Whilst I’m not a great fan of growbags, they can give terrific results. Hopefully this waterer will make growbags easier to water and give better results than other bag watering systems, As you

Heeling in the Leeks

Heeling in the Leeks

Leeks are a marvellous, versatile winter crop, standing in the ground from October to April. But as spring arrives you may find you need the space for other crops. The solution is to heel the leeks in. This will free

Coping with difficult times

Coping with difficult times

Apologies, my next post will be an update on the plot but I wanted to share what’s going on here with my readers. We’re Social Distancing Both of us sadly fall into the group being defined as vulnerable to the