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As soon as we bought our own house and I had a garden of my own I started trying to grow my own vegetables and one day when we were at our local garden centre "Food From Your Garden And Allotment" caught my eye. It looked like exactly the kind of thing I needed to help my new-found passion grow - as well as the courgettes in my newly formed veg patch!
Thanks to our newly bought mortgage, we weren't exactly up to our ears in money so I thought the £14.99 price tag was a bit too extravagant and reluctantly put it back on the shelf. But all the way round the shop I couldn't stop thinking about it and my hubby finally convinced me to just buy it as, if it was as helpful as I suspected it would be, it would surely pay for itself very quickly in delicious, homegrown vegetables. So I bought it and spent the next week devouring it from cover to cover and soon realised what a good investment it was.
I have since bought/been given other books on growing vegetables but this is still my favourite and the one I consult first whenever a doubt springs into my mind (frequently!). This is my go-to guide as it doesn't just cover the growing aspect...
It is split into 5 parts:
- a basic guide for starting a kitchen garden, including information about tools, soil, composting, fertilisers, planning a garden, watering and weeding (invaluable for a newby to gardening like me)
- growing fruit and vegetables, including nifty little sections on how to cook them and a few recipes - this section is also divided alphabetically by fruit and vegetable so it makes it easy to find a specific product. It also gives random tips including how long a row to grow of a certain veg to provide enough to feed a family of 4, which is incredibly helpful
- a calendar of the seasons with advice of what you should be doing during each season (again, invaluable for me)
- information about pests and diseases, complete with pictures so you can easily determine what's wrong with your produce if it's failing
- preserving your produce (great for when you haven't yet learnt to sow little and often rather than all at once and end up eating courgettes and tomatoes 5 times a week!)
I refer to this book constantly and have used all the sections and the only negative I have found to it is that it doesn't really cover growing things in containers in very much depth. Obviously people with allotments (I'm green with envy!) wouldn't need this facility, but our garden is predominantly paved apart from two small patches so I would like to grow more in pots/troughs etc. As a result I'm on the lookout for a book to cover this topic specifically, but even with that I would still keep this book on my coffee table permanently...it just gets too much use to bother putting it back on the shelf.