At over 300 pages long
this book covers all that the aspiring
vegetable, fruit & herb gardener would want to know.
The thrust of the book is to help you grow your crops well and enjoy them. Alan has based the book on his
top gardening tip which is "you'd do far better to grow half the
amount but grow it twice as well". This typifies the sound
advice that runs throughout this book.
But even Alan is not perfect, so we
applied our "standard" vegetable book review test and examined the
section on growing asparagus in some detail. Asparagus is not hard
to grow but it has some peculiarities which should be made clear in
a gardening book. The book explains clearly how to plant
asparagus crowns, which is to make a wide hole and spread the roots
It also stresses that asparagus should not be harvested
in the first couple of years and clearly explains how to
harvest after that. Our only small criticism is that no
mention was made of growing asparagus from seed, a much
cheaper option compared to buying the asparagus crowns from
a garden centre.
asparagus from seed is a lengthy process and possibly it was thought
not an option that many gardeners would choose.
The Kitchen Gardener was published in 2008 so it is
up to date. We were impressed with 'recommended varieties' section
for each herb, fruit and vegetable. The varieties were freely
available from the internet and garden centres. Being a modern book,
good use was made of high quality photography. There are over 250
pictures and diagrams which illustrate the book well but do not
over-power the content.
The coverage of the book is comprehensive with a
section covering every imaginable fruit vegetable and herb. Even the
lesser known were covered such as the asparagus pea. So if you are
looking for a book which will give you new ideas, this one
definitely fits the bill.
Each section covers how to plant and grow the crop,
which varieties are recommended, when and how to harvest and any
problems you may encounter with specific pests being mentioned. At
the front of each section is a small calendar summary of key dates
for the crop. All of this very clear, logical and easy to read.
Alan's sense of humour is pleasantly apparent throughout the book as
One comment we would make about the individual
calendars and the excellent overall calendar is that the dates are
average ones. No mention is made of the fact that many action dates
for say the Bournemouth area would be six to eight weeks different
to some cooler areas in the North of the UK.
If you are a budding kitchen gardener then as well
as growing fruit, vegetables and herbs, eating them is of great
interest as well! Although this book is not a recipe book, many of
the crop descriptions are accompanied by a recipe for that crop.
At over 300 pages long this book is suitable for both the amateur
and experienced kitchen gardener. The coverage is commendably
comprehensive, the book is well presented and very readable. It has
our full recommendation.
Published By: BBC Books
First Published: 2008
Author: Alan Titchmarsh
Title: The Kitchen Gardener
ISBN: 978 1846072017
Price: Recommended price �20.00 but available via the BBC bookshop
(online) at �13.99
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