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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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This is a no-nonsense, budget, pocket-sized guide to the basics about growing vegetables. Aimed at the beginner, it covers the 16 most popular vegetables which people like to grow. Look elsewhere for a book covering the more unusual or exotic: this is all about growing the vegetables which will provide a meal just for yourself or your family.

At its heart are two key questions: How much time do you have? and What do you like to eat? Far too many other guides forget these fundamental questions and then we see plenty of articles wondering why enthusiastic gardeners give up with growing their own.

All the basics are covered from getting to know your soil, tools of the trade, choosing which varieties to grow, sowing seeds and planting out. The practical possibilities of what can grown in the tiniest of places to a full-scale allotment are explored.

Detailed instructions for growing the 16 'Foolproof vegetables' are given - covering beetroot, broad beans, carrots, chilli/sweet peppers, courgettes, kale, lettuces, onions, potatoes, radishes, rocket, runner beans, salad leaf mixtures, salad onions, swiss chard and tomatoes. Once these crops have been mastered, then the gardener is well-equipped to try any others they might fancy.

The final section of the book is all about garden maintenance: watering, feeding, a glance at pest & disease control (though there is a more detailed companion volume: "Gardeners' World": Pests and Diseases on this subject available), composting, soil improvement, crop protection and attracting wildlife to be your 'garden helpers'. Finally harvesting and storage tips are given.

All this is packed into a pocket-sized book of 208 pages, plus a decent index and plenty of helpful photographs. Good value for the price and guaranteed to encourage the most reluctant of vegetable growers to have a go.
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on 26 October 2010
`First Time Veg Grower` by Martyn Cox is one of the small books in the Gardeners' World Series. If you're new to growing veg then this book would be a good place to start for a simple reference guide that's not too big to fit in your pocket or your bag if you're heading out into the garden or down to the allotment. It has a nice wipe-clean cover and looks like it would stand a lot of abuse.

More importantly, it covers all the basics. The first section explains how to get started, by thinking about how much space and time you have available, and what you might like to grow. It tells you how to prepare a seed bed, dig properly, and check the pH of your soil. Then you're on to seed sowing and planting out, through planning and into choosing tools.

The second section looks at where to grow your vegetables; there's advice for gardeners with little space, decent kitchen gardens, allotments and greenhouses.

The book walks you through choosing the right varieties for your garden, taking into account space restrictions, your tastes and your growing experience. Then there's a section on `Foolproof veg', although in my experience there's no such thing. But it covers all the popular crops, such as potatoes and runner beans, beetroot and salad leaves.

The final section is all about how to maintain your vegetable patch once it's up and running - watering, feeding, controlling pests and diseases, composting, attracting wildlife, weeding and improving your soil.

In short, this is a compact, handy guide (with plenty of colour pictures) that would be a good companion through your first couple of seasons as a veg grower. If you have a little more experience then you'll find it too basic.
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on 24 April 2011
I'm a first time vegetable grower. This book is very useful, especially the section on foolproof vegetables. I keep on referring back to it for planting directions and general advice. I like the little nuggets of information set out in the green boxes. This book together with "The Essential Allotment Guide" by John Harrison are really the only books you need to get you started.
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on 23 April 2012
This book does contain some helpful advice for beginners, but the authors may have forgotten just how little a true beginner knows! I could have done with fewer photographs of beautiful, plump vegetables just ready for picking (there are lots of these) and more photographs and text showing exactly how to perform some of the basic tasks, step by step, of which there are few. I was also disappointed that some common vegetables which beginners would likely want to try to grow were not explained at all, such as peas. So while there is undoubtedly some helpful advice here, it is by no means comprehensive which left this beginner with the need to seek further explanations elsewhere. If you are a beginner looking for just one book to explain the detailed steps for most vegetables then in my opinion this is not the one for you.
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on 24 August 2016
This little guide is just what any budding veggie gardener needs to see the seeds of success. It's small size, and price, mean it's easy to carry around with you and keep to hand in the greenhouse or shed for on the go referencing. It's clear and well laid out with lots of useful advice from the types of vegetable you can grow to when and how to grow them. Full of photographs I found it an ideal starter book and would recommend it to any novices, and more experienced, growers out there. Well worth the money!
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I have just started growing my own vegetables and have found this to be helpful, easy to understand and quick to read. It's small size makes it easy to actually have out in the garden with you in case you want to quickly check something. Recommend for any beginner.
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on 14 March 2012
This little book contains loads of useful inf despite its size. It gives you ideas as to what to grow depending on your location, your garden, and your commitment. The beginner is advised in choosing good varieties and the right tools, and also about crop rotation and maintaining the garden.
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on 1 December 2013
Definitely aimed at the beginner gardener level. Easy to read and understand instructions and suggestions and lots of valuable information for planting your own vegetable garden. I liked that the instructions were realistically aimed at someone starting a vegetable patch at home and did not require an initial outlay of thousands of pounds to get started. A great value book.
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on 23 July 2011
This book is ideal for first time gardener to grow your own I think everyone should start with the basics and that is what this little book has. It's brilliant.
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on 9 January 2013
this book was good for me ,gave me lots of new information, with some helpful tips for the beginner,very easy to read.
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