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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

In the Greenhouse – New Equipment on Test

In the Greenhouse – New Equipment on Test

Setting up the greenhouse for growing rather than propagating. Testing out a Chilligrow and Self Watering Tower Pots. Quadgrow The greenhouse is moving from its propagation set-up to the growing set up. Two of the three benches will move outside

Polytunnel Report

Polytunnel Report

This weather is not making it easy. We’ve had some lovely days but cold nights and now the nights are warming up but the days are cooling. I’ve been reducing the temperature in the heated propagators prior to planting out

Growing Questions & Answers May 2019

Growing Questions & Answers May 2019

Strawberries in Hanging Baskets I have strawberries in 8 hanging baskets in my Polytunnel each basket with 8 or so plants so quite a few. Many are thriving and beginning to form fruit. I potted up with new compost, sharp

Swallow Potting Shed Leak Fixed

Swallow Potting Shed Leak Fixed

The guys from Swallow Greenhouses came over on Monday and fixed the leak from the opening windows on the Potting Shed. I had my Swallow potting shed just over 4 years ago in February 2015. Generally I’ve been really happy

Super-deep Tomato Planting

Super-deep Tomato Planting

I often mention about deep-planting tomatoes so that they develop more roots to support larger vines with more fruit. By deep-planting I mean covering up around 10 cm of the stem which is the bit with the little root hairs

Madman of North Wales

Madman of North Wales

Sometimes it’s easy to get the wrong end of the stick. I’m afraid I managed to convince some visitors to our fair land that they might have blundered into the land of the crazies. All will become clear. The insurance