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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

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

Whilst writing this catch-up I realised there’s a theme to it. Hence the title – Penny Wise, Pound Foolish It wasn’t planned, just happened. Still, it’s a good point. We all look for value but there are times when saving

Invasion of the Army of Molluscs

Invasion of the Army of Molluscs

Never mind The Walking Dead or The Exorcist tonight I saw true horror slithering over paths and plot leaving trails of slime behind them! Just as full dark is arriving, around 10:30 pm here at the moment, I head up

Better Easier Composting, Biochar & Humification

Better Easier Composting, Biochar & Humification

I’ve had two new compost bins arrive along with some additive to improve the compost quality by increasing humus and some biochar. So lots to play with. A New Hotbin I first got a Hotbin composter some six years ago

Permaculture Pumpkins

Permaculture Pumpkins

I know some people think I’m a bit stuck in my ways because I don’t embrace every new idea that comes along. I’m actually quite open to alternative growing methods. The fact of the matter is that I look to

Why do I bother?

Why do I bother?

There are times when I wonder why I spend time, effort and money on growing my own veggies. Is it really worth the bother? Wild Strawberry To grow my strawberries I have them in a special compost mix, fed regularly

Another Eden Greenhouse

Another Eden Greenhouse

As you may recall, my new Eden greenhouse lasted just 4 days before it was destroyed in a storm at the end of April. Well the replacement has arrived. I’d sent photographs of the greenhouse remains after the storm to