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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

Greenhouse Vents, Raised Beds to Bed

Greenhouse Vents, Raised Beds to Bed

One of those jobs that fall into the ‘I must sort that soon’ category is fitting the automatic vent openers to the Eden greenhouse. I’d got three that were rescued form the wind damaged wreckage of the previous greenhouse. So

Rotten Weather but a Lot Going On

Rotten Weather but a Lot Going On

The last few days have been foul, more like winter than summer with strong winds and driving rain. Chairs flying around the patio and flower pots tipped over. Being used to it, we watch the weather forecast closely and batten

The Hedgerow Harvest

The Hedgerow Harvest

Looking at a 1942 leaflet issued by the Ministry of Food called How to Make Use of the Hedgerow Harvest. It may be 78 years old but the recipes look really good! When I started writing my Dig for Victory

Strange Weather in Strange Times

Strange Weather in Strange Times

It’s been a very odd year so far. After a nondescript winter, spring came in like high summer. Then high summer arrives but the weather is more like autumn or even winter. Crazy! We’re confused and so are the plants.

Super Harvest! Potatoes, Broad Beans, Garlic, Onions

Super Harvest! Potatoes, Broad Beans, Garlic, Onions

Sunday was a sunny Goldilocks day, not too hot and not too cold. So a long day outside sorting the raised beds and harvesting. Rather pleased with the results. Elephant Garlic This year I’ve had some elephant garlic from the

Fothergill’s Recalls Courgette Zucchini

Fothergill’s Recalls Courgette Zucchini

Mr Fothergill’s Recalls Some Courgette Zucchini Seeds from Ranges This follows a small number of complaints from customers who have experienced stomach pain and nausea after eating fruits. All remaining stocks from the warehouse, unpacked seeds and seeds in retail