Top positive review
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A good basic guide from a proper expert
on 7 April 2009
Out of this new series featuring all different aspects of gardening, I imagine this will be one of the bestsellers. Growing your own is big news at the moment, and Alan Titchmarsh provides a gentle way in. It has a certain slickness: there are lots of photos of him sitting in his shed polishing his spade / holding a trug of suspiciously clean carrots...
But AT does have a good turn of phrase and he has clearly written the main text himself. "Power to your potager" surely has to be a Titchmarsh joke for example... He even has a good section on "reality check" where he points out that unless you really have a passion for growing, some things are always going to be better bought from the supermarket! An honest admission.
The book's simplicity is its strongest point, along with the price. And it still manages to cover the important aspects. For example on digging, he's pretty fair in his coverage of no-dig veg growing, though he's clearly a double-digging man himself. There's a detailed lot of info on site preparation, fertilisers and a step-by-step guide to making a compost bin (Alan does embrace chemicals so if you are committed to being organic, that's one thing to think of) And I think his list of six easy crops: courgettes, garlic, onions, rocket, salad and spinach - is really a good one. He even gives half a page's advice on how to leave your crops and go on holiday!
You are in safe hands with Alan Titchmarsh. The more I flicked through this book the better I realised it was. Very, very comprehensive, packing loads in without overwhelming you at all. And the A-Z guide to crops, pages 61-131, is encyclopedic: a whole page each on chicory, endive, kohl rabi, two on peas, and excellent "difficulty" ratings. A really good bargain I think.