Whatever the size of your garden or allotment, you can grow your own vegetables. Even if you only have a balcony or a small paved area outside your kitchen, you can grow more than you ever thought possible in pots, containers and raised beds. Experienced vegetable grower, John Harrison takes you through the entire vegetable year so that, for all the main vegetables, youll know exactly when you should sow your seeds, dig your plot and harvest your crops. Choose the most appropriate vegetables for your particular soil and select the right position so that they flourish. Discover how to make your own compost and organic fertilisers, as well as the best methods of controlling pests. Find out how to extend the season by buying or building your own cloches and cold frames. Put an end to worries that your shop-bought vegetables contain chemical residues or to concerns about the air miles such vegetables have flown en route to your table!
John Harrison (b.1955) lives in Snowdonia, North Wales on a smallholding with his wife Val and a pride of miniature lions who can be mistaken for moggies. As well as writing, he runs his allotment-garden.org website from his home. They aim to be as self-sufficient as possible, not only growing fruit and vegetables, but making their own butter, cheese and preserves and soon to be raising their own livestock.
His first book, Vegetable Growing Month by Month was a best selling success, closely followed by The Essential Allotment Guide and Low Cost Living which he says should have been titled "Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs"
Easy Jams, Chutneys and Preserves was a collaboration with his wife, Val, and it has become a bestseller because of it's straightforward, honest style. Val not only tells you what to do but also what do when things go wrong. And they do!
His book, Vegetable, Fruit and Herb Growing in Small Spaces was released in March 2010 and was based on their time in a terraced house with just a patch of concrete to grow on.
Following this John and his wife Val released How to Store Your Home Grown Produce, in September 2010. They realised many home growers just didn't know what to do to store their crops. As well as being released in the UK, this book was picked up by Skyhorse in the USA where it's doing very well.
The next book was The Complete Vegetable Grower. This was a departure from John's other works being a hardback, lavishly illustrated in colour with photographs. In effect it's a compendium of his previous growing books with some new material.
His latest book, released 1st September 2011, is Backgarden Chickens & Other Poultry. Written with his daughter, Cara, it aims to give a practical guide to those thinking of keeping poultry. Cara keeps a flock of chickens, ducks and quail in her small terraced house garden near Leeds.
As both John and his daughter Cara are into self-sufficiency the book also covers the economics of keeping poultry at home and raising chickens for the table.
They make no secret of the fact that it is hard to 'do the evil deed' when you raise table birds and admit that the Aylesbury ducks were reprieved and are now beloved pets.
Currently John is writing a book on making your own wine, beer and cider. He's thoroughly enjoying the research and testing phase!
John served on the National Executive of the National Vegetable Society, a charity promoting the cultivation and showing of vegetables until recently and is a fellow of the society.