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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 12 July 2006
I've had an allotment for years and got this book as a present but I've never put it on the shelf since. Andi Clevely is a great read and the book is laid out so well I can dip into it so easily to find the right information. It has definitely inspired me to try some crops which I haven't grown before, like aubergine and chillies. The calendar section is partciularly useful for its 'last chance to sow' and 'planning ahead' features, and has some useful recipes. I would recommend this book for allotmenters new and old, as well as kitchen gardeners.
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on 1 September 2006
I have always wanted to grow my own, but I've never had the confidence to go for it.

This book gives you detailed tables of sowing and planting times, seasonal guides,advice on sellecting what to grow and even the odd recipe too. It is written in a clear and concise fashion, with lots of helpfull (and pretty) photographs.

I particularly like the seasonal guides as they have "Sow Now; Plant Now; In Season Now" in one quick reference column at the start of the "chapter".

It answers every question that a virgin allotment holder could ask. I would highly recommend it.
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on 10 August 2006
I have always wanted to have a go at growing my own veg but quite frankly did not know where to start. I needed a book that would spell out the basics, give me pictures and provide a detailed calendar showing when I should be doing what.

This book is perfect. It is well written, the directions are clear and the pictures informative. It is already well thumbed and next year I will be better! Congratulations to the author.
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on 26 April 2007
If, like me, you need an allotment book which assumes you know v little, but have already made the decision to work an allotment, don't necessarily put this book at the top of your list. i didn't need a chapter telling me why people have allotments. i didn't need recipes. i didn't need to know that someone has been labeled "the queen of herbs" by jamie oliver. i didn't need a page on bees. i need a book that allows me to look up raspberries, rhubarb, potatoes, courgettes, or whatever, and be directed to a page with everything i needed to know about those fruits/vegetables, plus a section that outlines everything i need to plan for each season. the latter section is here, and it is *almost* acceptable, but it assumes too much prior knowledge. if, like me, you didn't pick up a lifetime's worth of gardening tips from your ancient relatives, e.g. you don't know exactly how to "force" a vegetable, how to prune, etc., then this book isn't the one you need. fair play to the guy - it probably does have a large audience and it's good value for money - but it isn't being marketed at its real audience.
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..I got myself a plot on an organic farm ealrier this year. Apart from growing the odd thing whilst I grew up, I was starting from scratch.

This book doesn't go into great detail about every plant, but it isn't an encyclopaedia of allotment plants so it isn't to be expected.

It does give excellent important notes for plants though and contains information about the whole allotment experience.

There are photographs galore to inpsire allotmenteers, the calendar section has been a godsend to newbies like me, and the recipes section is great too (my wife used his carrot cake recipe and it was gorgeous! Thanks Heather!).

He gives advise on companion planting, composting, storring your harvest, and many more essential matters.

I learn't a lot from reading his book, you can really feel his passion for growing fruit and veg, and this rubs off onto the reader.
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on 12 December 2013
I really like the book but it is not for me but a Christmas present for someone. It looks informative and if I had an allotment I am sure I would find the book interesting. I definitely recommend it to all those gardeners out there
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on 8 January 2013
Bought this book for my Daughter as she has taken over an allotment. She has told me that she find the book very easy to use and reads it often. It is very informative. She uses the book in conjunction with The Allotment Seasonal Planner by the same author Andi Clevely.
I would recommend it.
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If you're lucky enough to be allocated a plot (or half-plot) at your local allotment, this guide will quickly get you up to speed with getting the most from your plot.

Designing your plot layout to work best for you and to minimise problems via crop rotation is tackled first, followed by a directory of vegetables to grow (both the usual suspects and more unusual crops) , techniques to use and ending with a guide to the seasonal year are all explained in detail, accompanied by lavish photographs and sprinkled with seasonal recipes. The allotment tradition of recycling anything that comes to hand is also catered for with a number of projects to try throughout the book.

With this guide to hand, you'll have a prize winning plot in half the time and be the envy of all the 'old hands'.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 May 2015
Interest in growing fruit, vegetables and flowers has never been greater so I approached this book enthusiastically. When this book was published in 2006, its author, Andi Clevely, had had over 35 years’ experience as a working gardener. He was also struggling to reclaim a grassed-down allotment in mid-Wales and enthusing members of his family about the joys of growing their own. Expertly qualified as a practical gardener, allotment holder and enthusiastic communicator.

The book which covers all aspects of vegetable and fruit production is divided into four sections – ‘The perfect allotment’ which covers planning, crop rotation, choosing the bed system, equipment - 19 pages; ‘Crops for your allotment’ which suggests how to select crops [root vegetables, legumes, brassicas, the onion and pumpkin families, leaves and salads, stem and perennial vegetables, summer-fruiting vegetables, herbs, fruit and edible flowers] – 55 pages; ‘Cultivating your allotment’ that addresses the hard graft including clearing the plot, improving the soil, how to water, weed, harvest and store – 40 pages; and ‘The allotment year’ describing what to expect throughout the year – 48 pages.

Within each section there are a total of six one-page ‘allotment stories’ [‘floating’ allotments in Amiens, ethnic crops, allotments and mental health, organic community gardening, the mutual benefits of allotments and beekeeping, and poultry rearing] and the book has a list of resources [seed and plant suppliers and relevant organisations from which to seek further information] and a comprehensive index.

The book is profusely illustrated in colour; some illustration is necessary but there are too many general pictures, some full page size, in a book that has such a wide coverage. In all, the large and small photographs take up about a third of the book. This inevitably means that topics are greatly compressed – thus under ‘keeping your plants healthy’ there are just four pages and no illustrations of pest or disease damage. Most of the single page devoted to Sweetcorn is covered by a photograph of a corn cob whilst half the page on Cauliflower shows close-ups of two cauliflower varieties. This is typical of the entire book. Lovely reproductions but what I wanted was more of the author’s knowledge on the practicalities of allotment holding. Interesting though the 15 page Introduction is, its information is not really relevant to the book’s topic.

The presentation is very good, clearly defined paragraph, headings and sub-headings, and boxes. Whilst the six allotment stories [one page text, one page illustration] are interesting they are really too short to be meaningful and their dozen pages might have been better devoted to additional guidance about allotments.

Of course, no single book will provide all the information one needs. The geographical location and the position of the individual allotment within the overall site cannot be addressed in a book this small. Attention is given to soil type and its improvement but there is such a lot of very sparse information. A few conversations with a long-time allotment holder at your site [helped along by some tobacco and/or tea] will really prove more useful – and a notebook to jot down what is being grown on neighbouring plots, and what thrives and what does not. A colourful book but, ultimately, a disappointment.
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on 16 May 2015
Would buy again. My only criticism is that (since it doesn't give exact months) I would like more of an indication of when it is "early Spring" when "late spring" etc......maybe a list of what is likely to be happening then in nature to help less knowledgeable gardeners plan. Otherwise can't fault it.
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