Being the novice gardener that I am, I did the sensible thing and joined my local library so that I could have access to all their wonderful gardening books. There is a pretty good selection at my local library and one of the books I borrowed was called 'Allotment Month by Month' by Alan Buckingham. The book was well laid out and brilliantly written. It answered so many of the questions that I struggled to find answers to, such as when is the best time to sow seeds/plant out. The book, as the title suggests, is broken into month by month sections, so you can easily look up what you should be doing over the course of the year.
The book was so good that I did consider buying it, but as I only have a small area on the patio to grow my fruit and vegetables, I thought his book 'Grow Vegetables' would be more suitable for my needs. I also bought it at a bargain price of £7.49 from Premier Seeds Direct on Ebay – I also bought my seeds that I’m going to grow next year from them as they are bloody good value!
Although borrowing from the library is great, it’s nice to always have your own copy of a good book to refer to whenever you need to. Luckily I wasn't disappointed with my purchase!
The book is full of practical information and loads of colour photographs to help guide you.
The book is split into the following sections:
- The Perfect Plot (choosing location, crop rotation etc.)
- Vegetable Grower's Know-how (tools & equipment, choosing pots/containers, choosing soil etc.)
- Cabbages & Leaf Vegetables
- Root & Stem Vegetables
- Peas & Beans
- Fruiting Vegetables
- Cucumbers & Squashes
- Perennial Vegetables
- Vegetable Year Planner
- Vegetable Doctor
What I liked about the 'Allotment Month by Month' book was that it told you what to do each month, but that meant that information about each vegetable was spread out in the book and you had to refer to the Index a lot. With this book, each vegetable has a dedicated section and you are given all the information you need, from where to plant, when to plant, how to sow seeds, routine care, harvesting, what can go wrong and recommended varieties.
The Vegetable Year Planner section still gives you the guidance on what to plant or harvest month by month.
I found the Vegetable Doctor section incredibly useful as Alan has included photographs of many of the pests and diseases that you need to look out for. Lots of other books give you a description, but without a photo I am still left scratching my head as to whether my plants have become victims or not!
Everything is clearly explained in this book and it has given me so much more confidence about growing my own vegetables, as I have only been doing it for a year.
I highly recommend this book as I don't feel like I need to buy any others! Unfortunately I had already bought Veg Patch River Cottage Handbook No.4, which is an entertaining read, but it really isn’t a patch on Alan Buckingham’s books.