Top critical review
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A good book for beginners...
on 21 February 2013
A good book for beginners, but the author annoyingly has a rather pessimistic outlook on most things. The sections on common fruit grown in Britain such as apples, pears, plums, cherries and soft fruit are all very good. The section on melons is also good, if a bit pessimistic and disappointingly doesn't suggest unprotected cultivation on black plastic in warmer areas.
The sections on figs, mulberries are too brief, basically a couple of paragraphs each. The sections on peaches and apricots are okay.
The section on grapes is rather poor. It lists mainly wine or dual purpose grapes, all of which are seeded. Some home growers will want to grow for wine, but at least half I'd estimate (probably more like 3/4) will want to grow table grapes for eating. Seedless eating grapes such as Lakemont and Himrod are absent, whilst seeded and commonly grown eating grapes such as Boskoop Glory aren't mentioned either. Instead there are greenhouse grapes listed, some good varieties for eating but some of them such as Madresfield Court are very obscure and almost impossible to purchase.
The wine varieties listed are good for that purpose, if a little bland. Less hardy varieties, but ones which are nevertheless the most common in cultivation are omitted as well. Pinot Noir is one of the world's best wine grapes and is grown commercially in Southern England and yet isn't mentioned.
Overall the section on grapes needs revising and expanding.
So a good book for beginners, good if you want to grow typical British fruits such as apples and strawberries, not so much for less common fruits.