‘The Essential Allotment Guide’ by John Harrison


As you can tell from the title this book is allotment specific and the guide is broken down into many different helpful sections (such as the history of allotments, choosing a plot, pests and problems, clearing a plot, tools, vegetables) and there are lots of little diagrams and drawings throughout – it is very comprehensive. The book was published in 2009 so some aspects of it will be a little out of date and need to be read in context. There is an interesting few paragraphs about the weed killer Aminopyralid and its longevity and prevalence in manure. It estimated that manure with traces of it in would not be safe to use until 2013, providing that old stocks of Aminopyralid were not used after its licence was revoked. I wonder whether this is the case – has it all broken down now? I have seen a few trials on Facebook groups with people growing beans in manure to test for weed killer and noticed that a fair number of beans were affected. I do not know which weed killer these trialled though, but this book gives a timely reminder that not all we put on our plot is as safe as we think it to be.

On the whole, this book is very practical. It will be a great resource to dip in to – and I will do, but as I had the time I opted to read it from cover to cover. I feel that I have learned a lot, and it has challenged my gardening assumptions. I confess that I never realised that swede and turnips are brassicas (even though they have brassica in their botanical names!). We treated them as a root crop last year. Maybe that was one of the reasons they did not do so well.

I will definitely  be returning to this book for advice on starting an asparagus bed as that is on our To Do list this year, and I will certainly return to the sowing charts and the information regarding saving seeds.

  • Publisher: Right Way; Digital original edition (26 Mar. 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0716022125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0716022121
  • Paperback: 256 pages

Available to buy online on sites including  Amazon, Low Cost Living, Waterstones and W. H. Smith

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