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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 6 August 2013
Don't buy this book if you haven't got a clue about vegetable gardening. I did and it left me confused and scared to plant anything. The thought of cutting a slug in half to protect your salad leaves was not a pleasant (insert a squeamish face here). It has no glossary so for a beginner you have no idea what he is going on about, bolting? closed cloches anyone? Also if I tried to follow it step by step I would have been in a real mess. Near the start you read on about how to add organic matter to your soil so I ticked that box then much later on in the book it says "oh no don't add it if you are growing root vegetables" wow I guess no carrots for me next year then? It did have great (but sometimes irrelevant) pictures. I also liked that it gave you information on each veg or herb you could plant. That's about it really.

So get this book if you know a bit about gardening first.
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on 22 July 2016
I really enjoyed reading this book, you can tell he is a real expert in his field and very passionate about the subject, the book covers a wide range of topics not just veg and herbs but also how to make planters and care for various plants and what to do if you get a problem.

It also covers a wide range of tools and what to look for when buying to make sure you get the correct one, there are sections on soil types and how to easily identify them and how to change it with digging and adding various products.

There are plenty of detailed pictures so you can quickly refer back when you need a helping hand and whole sections on composting and organic pros and cons. I believe the book is aimed at people who already garden and just want to get better instead of complete novices, but well worth a read even when starting as you can keep referring back as you also get better
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on 14 June 2009
Thought this year I would grow some veg on the patio in pots and grow bags. Was not really which ones and how to look after them. A friend has purchased this book and on reading it realised it was exactly what I needed to know. It gives advice on what to grow - which are easy veg - when to grow - how to grow them and how to look after them. The pictures are in colour and the book is just great. Forget the others - this is the one you want. Now have beans, peppers, courgettes and tomotoes all doing well!!
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on 10 February 2014
This is my second copy of this book, having lost the first one. I`ve only been trying to grow my own for about four years and this book really helped. I like it because he gives most things just one or two pages at most, covers every stage of the plants life with detail that even the most inexperienced (me) gardener can follow. In a chatty and helpful tone. No reams of irritating detail to plough through. Just find the page and go from there approach. Great.
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on 16 March 2011
Hi I have just started to learn how to have a vegetable garden and this book is brilliant, lots of good advice and lots of pictures which I love in a book.
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on 4 September 2009
Having been brought up on the practicality and simplicity of the Expert series, I was curious to see what Titchmarsh's attempt at this classic format was like. I have to say I was disappointed. The text was waffling, the photos often irrelevent and appeared to just be filling space, and the narrow text columns made even short passages a tedious read. I have no doubt Titchmarsh is a talented writer, but this book just does not fit the purpose of quick and easy reference. His fiction is much better :)

Don't bother with this attempt, go for the original and best: The Vegetable and Herb Expert.
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on 13 May 2013
Great book for begginers but also for those, who have just a few questions about gardening - everyone can find some interesting news for them. Plus garden-loving style of writing and a huge amount of garden sensibility. Can't stop reading it over and over :-)
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on 25 June 2012
A well laid out book with lots of useful info, but found several times that terms and phrases were used that we did not understand (e.g. bolting) and that were not described elsewhere in the book, so then had to head to the internet to find out what they meant, which sort of negated the point of having a book. Seeing as this book appears to be for the beginner, this was disappointing. If for those more knowledgeable in the field, then this is probably too basic I would have thought.

That said, we still find it very useful.
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on 20 April 2014
A great reference book, easy to understand.
I've used it frequently over the past year as I have become an allotment holder. The practical advice has been very useful and the writing style is unassuming and mentoring.
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