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This review is from: The Great Vegetable Plot (Hardcover)
This is an excellent book on vegetable gardening, but not for complete beginners, as it does not have step-by-step instructions on how to set up a plot. For those starting out I would heartily recommend Joy Larkcom's superb 'Grow Your Own Vegetables' (very comprehensive but no photographs) coupled with Dr Hessayon's 'Expert' book on vegetable gardening (very well laid out but a little out of date on vegetable varieties).
But Sarah Raven's book is excellent in other ways. The colour photography is absolutely superb and will spur you on to try and grow something just as good! There is also a really excellent alphabetical section on vegetables, which stresses how important it is to choose the best varieties for taste, colour and texture. She describes her personal favourites, and also has a lot of information on propagation, planting times, successional sowing, special growing requirements and harvesting for each vegetable. The section on herbs is excellent, with lots of advice on which varieties, for example, of basil and parsley are well worth growing and which are not. For potatoes and tomatoes, she also has specific growing information for each recommended variety, for example 'Pink Fir Apple' potatoes and 'Gardener's Delight' tomatoes. As she is a former chef at River Cafe, this advice is hugely valuable.
In the rest of the book there are comprehensive sections on specific vegetables that are commonly grown, including tomatoes (very informative), peas (including growing in guttering for an early crop), potatoes, carrots, beans, etc.
This is a superb book which I use throughout the year, and is especially recommended for those who are keen to know which vegetable varieties to grow for taste, colour and texture rather than purely for size and yield.