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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

Equinox, Food Security, Gene Editing

Equinox, Food Security, Gene Editing

Bit of a ramble on the first day of autumn. Some thoughts on our food security and gene edited crops coming soon. Today is the Autumn Equinox in the northern hemisphere. The traditional start of autumn since pre-history, when the

Spaghetti Squash, Pumpkins & Parsnips

Spaghetti Squash, Pumpkins & Parsnips

You can’t win them all but we’ve had some great results this year on the plots. I’ve never grown so many squash and the parsnips are set to be top notch. Spaghetti Squash & Pumpkins We’ve had quite a success

Harrod Horticultural Discount Voucher Code

Harrod Horticultural Discount Voucher Code

Harrod Horticultural are giving us an exclusive voucher discount code. Get 10% off at the checkout using Voucher Code JHTEN during September. This voucher code enables the purchase of anything from their range of fruit and vegetable cages. Just pop

Autumn Approaches, Harvesting

Autumn Approaches, Harvesting

Summer may have had a last gasp but autumn is near. Leaves are starting to fall already. Astronomical autumn starts on the Equinox which is the 22nd September this year. I took a stroll around the plots armed with my

Hotbin Composting

Hotbin Composting

I really like our Hotbin Composter, it sits quietly behind the house converting waste to healthy, plantfood. Some green waste goes in which would compost in any system but where the benefits really come are perennial weeds and kitchen waste.

Watering, Onions, Raised Beds & Beans

Watering, Onions, Raised Beds & Beans

Keeping busy, taking advantage of this very dry weather. Harvest continues, great onions and yet more beans. The weather is strange – what’s new? – cool and cloudy with the odd bursts of sunshine but very dry. They’re predicting some