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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

Sarpo Potatoes Offer

Sarpo Potatoes Offer

As you may know, I’m a great fan of the Sarpo range of potatoes. I’ve been growing them since 2005. Back in 2007, a very bad year for blight on our allotments, the only potato plants standing on the entire

Master Garlic Grower Shares How he Grows Garlic

Master Garlic Grower Shares How he Grows Garlic

Stewart Jones, a keen garlic grower from Mansfield Woodhouse in Nottinghamshire, shares how he grows his garlic crop on his plot on the Kingsley Allotment site. Varieties He only grows softneck garlic varieties because of their better keeping qualities along

Preparing the New Bed & in The Potting Shed

Preparing the New Bed & in The Potting Shed

We’ve had some shocking weather but I have at least made a good start on the new no-dig bed and nearly kept up with the sowing plan in the potting shed. The New No-dig Bed Made a start on the

Growing Questions & Answers March 2019

Growing Questions & Answers March 2019

Rather than answer questions directly, often more than once for the same question, I’ll cover them in a monthly post. Feel free to chip in if you’ve a solution for a problem. If you’ve a question please email me with

Spell of Glorious Weather Catch Up

Spell of Glorious Weather Catch Up

Three days of glorious spring weather – except in February. Late February, admittedly, but still weird. I read something that didn’t call it global warming or climate change but weather weirding. In some ways the most accurate description. Yes the

Heeling in the Leeks

Heeling in the Leeks

With the change in the weather, the leek season is nearly over. Left in the ground they’ll start bolting. That is going to seed. By heeling them in, they’ll effectively store in good condition for another couple of weeks at