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  • This website is run by John & Val Harrison who lived in Crewe, Cheshire until moving to a smallholding in Snowdonia, near Caernarfon.
  • John is 68 years old and kept 2 allotments until finally achieving his dream of 3 acres in the country. His wife Val looks after the flower gardens and does the real work of storing and turning the produce into meals.
  • John runs the growing side of the web site and Val runs the recipe section.
  • They are self-sufficient in vegetables and Val produces huge quantities of jams, chutneys and preserves from the produce.

Website Information

The main information site is There is a section on keeping poultry at home located at

We also run the Allotment Gardening forums which are very popular with over 23,000 members.

Val & John also contribute to the Low Cost Living web site which is run by their daughter Cara and is aimed at those seeking a greener and more economical life.


John has written articles for Garden News, Grow Your Own, Sunday Post, Vegetarian Living and a number of trade publications on topics associated with ‘grow your own’, keeping poultry at home, preserving foods, self-sufficiency etc.

Previous Coverage

John Harrison has been mentioned in the national press: Independent, Times, Mail and interviewed on radio a number of times.


John Harrison has written 9 books, two with his wife Val and one with his daughter Cara (published September 2011). They have plans for a number of other books on related topics when time allows.

Vegetable Growing Month by Month  published March 2008
ISBN 978-0-7160-2189-6

Since it’s launch this has become one of the most popular gardening books in the UK, outselling every other book in the field on Amazon and being in the top 100 books chart for over a year.

“Harrison’s book is crammed with useful information, unencumbered by any trendy graphics it’s perfect for all those gardeners who just want a book to tell them exactly what to do, and when.”
Emma Townshend, Independent on Sunday

Dig for Victory, Monthly Guides and Commentary – published 25th October 2020
ISBN 978-1-8381857-0-1

The Dig for Victory campaign has shaped how we grow vegetables for the last 80 years. Reproducing the original wartime guides along with a commentary that explains what has changed and why from those guides in the light of modern knowledge and experience.

The Essential Allotment Guide – published 26th March 2009
ISBN 978-0-7160-2212-1

Aimed primarily at those growing on or looking to grow on an allotment, this book compliments John’s first along with information specifically of benefit to allotment holders.

Low Cost Living – Publication 28th May 2009
ISBN 978-0-7160-2211-4

As well as growing their own food, John & Val Harrison have lived frugally raising a family in bad times as well as good. This book passes on their practical experiences on living better for less.

Easy Jams, Chutneys and Preserves – Publication 30th July 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7160-2225-1

Written by John & Val Harrison, does what it says on the title! We wanted to take the mystery and rocket science out of a simple traditional hobby and encourage people to have a go.

Vegetable, Fruit & Herb Growing in Small Spaces – Publication 25th March 2010
ISBN 978-0-7160-2245-9

Not everyone is fortune enough to have space or time for growing their own food in a large plot or allotment. This book will help anyone grow something for the table even if they only have a window box.

How to Store Your Home Grown Produce – Publication 16th September 2010
ISBN 978-0-7160-2246-6

Written by John & Val Harrison this book tells you what to do with your crops when you’ve grown them. It’s also released in the USA by Skyhorse (slightly different version to cover American terms) where it was well received

The Complete Vegetable Grower –  Publication March 2011
ISBN 978-0-71602-2701

A hardback compendium of all my information on growing vegetables, lavishly illustrated in full colour with photographs. Sadly out of print.

Backgarden Chickens & Other Poultry – Publication 1st September 2011
ISBN 978-0-7160-2268-8

Written with our daughter, Cara Harrison, this is aimed at those keeping poultry in an ordinary back garden. Cara keeps a flock of hens, ducks and quail in a terraced house garden.

Biographical Information

John Harrison lives with his wife Val in Gwynedd with a small pack of miniature lions disguised as moggies.

John has had a varied career, ranging from his own business as a kitchen designer to working with venture capitalists as a facilitator in a global environment. In the dot com boom he was, sadly for a very brief time, a paper multi-millionaire but soon returned to normality!

His interest in horticulture came at an early age and was nurtured by his grandfather. Despite a busy life, he’s grown his own for about 50 years and has always been interested in self-sufficiency generally as well as appropriate technology.

Currently a full time author as well as running the web site he was recently described as “Britain’s greatest allotment authority” by the Independent on Sunday. Until recently he sat on the National Executive Committee of the National Vegetable Society of which he is a fellow.

Val Harrison developed an interest in cooking as a student, helping to run a vegetarian cafe at her university. She developed a particular interest in preserving food due, she says, to her husband’s over production!

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