on 6 May 2011
This is the book to read if you want to know how to grow winter vegetables. It is a relief to read a gardening book that shows and instructs you on what to do now to get a winter harvest rather than what you should have done months ago. Genius!. The sowing, planting and growing calendar is brilliant. I think this book is perfect for vegetable growers of all levels. Packed with information that the experienced gardener will find very useful and is straightforward, clear and concise for the new vegetable grower just starting out.
I have been growing vegetables for a few years now but have never been clear on how to grow vegetables for the winter. I shall be reading this book constantly over the next few months and with luck we will get some winter vegetables to eat.
on 14 July 2011
I bought this book on the strength of Charles Dowding's other two titles, both of which I regard as invaluable. Mr Dowding's great strength is that he writes from his own practical experience, and gives excellent advice, rather than simply re-hashing previous writings.
This title is probably the most valuable of the three, as it contains a great deal of very helpful advice on growing vegetables at a time when so many plots are bare, or only have a few tattered leeks and cabbages available.
If you are serious about wanting to grow you own vegetables, I would certainly recommend this book!
on 4 August 2011
Having purchased and read Charles Dowding's previous two books, this is perhaps the most important because it literally instructs you how to grow vegetables, salad leaves etc for winter and early spring. Why have your allotment or veg patch empty when you could be growing this wonderful food, the author provides sowing times,suggested varieties and pictures of the crops when planted.
This book explains how to come through winter with plenty of vegetables stored, fresh harvests to make, and also has advice for growing plants to withstand the winter, for eating in spring during the hungry gap season of April, May and early June.
Vegetables need to be sown and planted at specific times so the book's middle section is a monthly sowing, planting and growing calendar. The next part covers monthly harvesting adventures, from garlic in July to spring cabbage and pea shoots in May. Through winter, soil is cool and transforms the plot into a large outdoor larder where many vegetables keep healthy and alive, ready for harvesting when needed. Many salads can be grown in winter, especially with a little protection, such as from fleece and cloches.
I stongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to grow and harvest fresh food from October to May.....I can't wait.
on 30 March 2012
Overall, I've been impressed by this book. Not only does it address a topic, winter growing, that isn't dealt with elsewhere, but the author also includes an impressive amount of information in only 232 pages. I'm fairly new to vegetable gardening generally, so it could be that others have covered some aspects of this, but the only other books I've come across are the classic one by Hessayon (The Vegetable and Herb Expert), Harrison's "Vegetable Growing: Month by Month", Hills' classic but quirky "Month by Month Organic Gardening", and Dowding's other book "Organic Gardening"; none of these seem to deal with growing over Winter. That said, having followed Dowding's advice what I mainly found was that not much does grow over Winter, but I did learn quite a bit trying things I read in his book, and I remain intrigued by the notion. The key issue, as far as I can see, is overwintering, namely the planting of crops that can *survive* Winter and then have a head start. His advice for many vegetables was sound, and I'm now seeing quite a bit of growth. Of course, overwintering cabbages is nothing new and could be found in many other books, but many of the other crops don't appear to be dealt with elsewhere. The flaw? Well, it's poorly laid out and so it's difficult to find the info you're looking for. For instance, if I wanted to know about growing cabbage I can look in the index and will find "cabbage, growing", and then find references thereto on pages 23, 54, 102-103, 109, 115, 126-127 & 142. They're all legitimate, useful references, and I applaud the thoroughness of the referencing, but surely a further level of sub-referencing is called for?! Most of the reasons for the plethora of page numbers is due to starting planting in different months (very helpful, by the way!), so just have different index entries!: e.g., "growing, june", "growing, july" etc. It's not beyond the wit of man.... (A smaller gripe is the title of Chapter 15 (An Amazing Array of Vegetables). How on Earth is this informative? That said, overall, the positives heavily outweigh the negatives and a second edition with these issues addressed would be a classic in my view. The most impressive aspect is the amount of info he gets in there. It's also much more impressive than Dowding's "Organic Gardening", which I wasn't too keen on.
on 5 August 2011
I am very pleased with the clarity of this book. I love gardening but am a comparative newcomer to vegetable growing, always my husband's responsibility but mine now. Step by step, Dowding guides you as to how to structure your soil, your patch and gives you a calendar for planting so that basically you can use your vegetable patch for nearly the whole year. The no-dig method is also explained - very useful as heavy digging is now out of the question for me!
on 22 July 2011
Although I have been growing veg for some time, this excellent book gives great advice for those all important times when things are "lean". Much to be learnt from it by both experts and beginners alike. Also a great section on storage of all your produce, whether left in the ground, frozen or stored.
on 25 June 2015
The real value of this book it how it teaches you successional planting; as you pull out one thing, plant something else that you've grown in your polytunnel https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0711231702/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_1 in it's place. As of late June, I'm just watching my "winter larder" getting bigger and bigger.
What an excellent book. As a blue chip "techy", I'd say that these two books, together, are "the killer app".
Well, well worth the investment.
on 22 March 2013
I bought this book about one year ago and decided to try first before writing a review. Although I had been growing ornamental plants my experience in growing veg wasn't great. My husband was the veg gay and i looked after the flowers. We had plenty veg in the summer but a rather bare veg patch in the winter. the only things in it were a few sad leeks, purple sprouting broccoli and a handful of Swiss chard. One year later I am totally converted. I even convinced my husband that no digging works and our garden has become organic. Including the lawn!
The information is very well laid and easy to follow. I particularly like Charles personal approach and comments based on his own experience. Dates and recommended varieties are particularly useful.
The only reason I am not giving the 5 stars is because the last pages of the book have come loose. Although I don't mind. It gives the book that long friend cherished feel.
I since then have bought all Charles Dowding's books and enjoyed every single one of them.