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on 12 May 2009
I was looking for a book about Herbs, and had come across this series of books before and knew them to be very good, but unfortunately the Herb section of this book is only a couple of pages long!! Otherwise, the book lives up to the excellent standard of this series.
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on 2 June 2000
Simple to follow guides to getting the best from your Vegetables. When and how to sow, plant, harvest. Now includes herbs and baby vegetables, plus Unusual veg, like `Nasturtiums`. (I now eat the flowers when out in the garden)
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Nothing wrong with this comprehensive guide at all. We purchased it as complete veg newbies, along with other books that it soon appeared were more user friendly. On the basis of this, this book was always the last we consulted...
Having said that, now we have a smattering of knowledge, we find it often provides info not apparent in our "Noddy" version books...
Oh, and it is NOT a "Herb EXPERT" book at all (as only a smattering of herbs are actually covered as an almost afterthought)!
It is an extremely competent & good value veg gardening book, however.
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on 7 May 2010
The section of this book dealing with growing vegetables is excellent but it is misleading to mention herbs in the title. The section on herbs is thin with just a few useless lines describing the herbs and absolutely no description on how to grow herbs in your garden. The herb section is pathetic to the point where the author does not even seem to know how to use herbs often mentioning 'use this herb sparingly as it has a strong flavour', when in reality some herbs such as basil and coriander can be used in large quantities without being overpowering. If you are interested in advice on growing herbs, then look for another book, don't buy this book.
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on 13 March 2009
I bought an earlier edition of this book in 1991 when I started growing vegetables in my back garden - it was the first gardening book I ever bought. Since then I have bought many other gardening books, moved to a smallholding and now grow vegetables commercially - but The Veg Expert is still the one I reach for when I need simple, to the point, advice on particular vegetables when my memory needs jogging. In fact I have just bought this latest edition that includes varieties which didn't exist when my old copy was published.

Forget the glossy, coffee table books written by 'celebrity' gardeners - this tells you everything you need for growing successful produce, and at a great price.
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on 16 October 2013
My husband ordered this using my account so I get to rate it. He bought it because we've mislaid our copy. I can't imagine why he bothered because this book is way out of date. The varieties recommended are sometimes no longer available and even the ones that are have probably been superseded by better ones. The propogating/spacing information is useful but again tends to be based on rather old-fashioned growing principles, with no-dig raised beds you can plant a lot closer together. The cooking notes are valuable only for their historic interest.....you are advised to bake avocados and not to try garlic unless it is part of your culinary heritage! Some value remains in the troubleshooting diagrams but all in all if you want a book on veg growing, there are lots of good modern alternatives.
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on 1 July 2012
My 20 year old copy of the Vegetable Expert had proven enticing to slugs in the green house over recent winters, so I was idly looking to replace it as most of the first ten pages have been eaten. The book is still serviceable though so long as I dont need too much advice on Artichoke,Globe....Jerusalem onwards is fine! When I started to study horticulture 20 years ago I spent £,000s on what I now term horticultural pornography, which as a landscaper now, I believe should be banned to the general public as it gives them ideas above their station. Apart from half a dozen reference books and half a dozen of the 'Expert' series the practising gardener needs nothing else. Their ideas should come from their own imagination, inspired by visits to local gardens, of similar size and resources (time and money).
Homily over, this book is excellent and far more reliable than the back of seed packets. Read the general sections at leisure and refer to each vegetable as required and only experience (your own and other local gardeners) will add to your knowledge.
Response to adverse comments made elsewhere:
1. 'And Herb Expert' - Justified criticism...5 pages on herbs in my 20year old copy, but it was just 'The Vegetable Expert' in those days. If you are into herbs this is not the book of choice, but if you just want to bung in some mint and parsley it is fine.
2. 'It Should be a Metric Version' - 1/4" 1/2",1",2",3",4",6",8",12",15",18",24",36" are just about all you need and they are mathematically easily related and connected, so plan your plot on the basis of how many 12" spaced rows you can fit in your plot, and then adjust your plan for each vegetable you plan to grow. Even we who are happy with metric will find the rough mental arithmetic required is simpler in imperial and the results easier to remember when crawling along planting out.
Go for this if you want to grow vegetables....I even let my own customers buy it.
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on 6 January 2014
Despite having had this book for nearly 10 years now I have yet to find one that is better. If you want to start growing veg or brush up on your knowledge then this is certainly the best place to look. It is a clear and comprehensive guide that is just so easy to pick up and use. It gives clear instructions about how to deal with pests and diseases, information on seed varieties and lots more. It never becomes over complicated or long-winded like some growing books I've read. If you want to start growing your own veg then start here!
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on 16 August 2009
I bought this book many years ago. For me its a gardening masterpiece. What it does is give me the idea of what I needed to do, be doing and when so I got the most out of my garden and allotment. It has a calender with best planting times and gives you information about sowing etc that takes you right to the heart of what you need. In a simple and easy to understand format. That isnt in the Gardening For Idiots theme (which I also dont actually mind)

The vegetables are listed A - Z and there's a plenty of the run of the mill stuff as well as such oddities as Kohl rabi and salsify to give you a few curve balls.

Probably the only critisim I have is that the herb bit could have had more but, it is what it is.

The details not going be enough for the "professional" gardener but this book especially for starters is going get you up and running really well.

I've gardened a lot overthe years and still as you gather from this purchase still refer.
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on 7 June 2012
I guess the plethora of new vegtables makes it hard to keep up to date so was a bit disappointed given the grandiose title. It is not that helpful for the absolute beginner faced with an weed filled allotment for the first time.
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