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Who knew it, outside his family and circle of friends who have enjoyed the fruits of his labours? Chas Hodges (the Chas of Chas and Dave fame) is not only a rock and roll pianist, he is also a keen allotment gardener, too!
This book is short for a gardening book, weighing in at only 112 pages. A good deal less than many other gardening books. In fact, Chas makes reference to this in his introduction. It is his opinion that many gardening authors pad their works out in order to provide a book of the length required by the publisher. And having read through several gardening books, I feel that Chas may have a point!
Because although Chas' book is short on verbiage and has an admittedly fairly short word count, it is heavy, if not rich, with somewhat detailed instructions on how to become a reasonably proficient allotment gardener.
I am a novice (my wife is the expert gardener in our family, with hard-earned qualifications in professional gardening!) so I read the book with great interest. Could I grow vegetables? After reading Chas' book I feel that I really could have a go at growing some vegetables for the table!
Chas provides information on what gardening tools you probably will require and also points out which gardening tools you probably will not require.
He also gives useful hits on basic digging techniques, on the right and wrong way to keep chickens, what crops to try planting and what, in his experience, you should avoid planting in your allotment and vegetable garden.
Having read the book I feel that I, a comparative novice, could make reasonable stab at not only planting crops, of tending them, harvesting the fruits of my labours and also how to store my vegetables and how to prepare them. There's also some very useful tips of pickling, too.
The book also touches on the triumphs and tragedies of Chas' East End family. And beer!
The book has an introduction by Jools Holland OBE which is a heartfelt plea for more people to grow their own vegetables like Chas does.
There's a word of caution, however. If you are thinking of buying this book as a present (it's a marvellous stocking filler or birthday gift for a new gardener, or even an experienced gardener, come to that!) please do be aware that Chas uses swearwords to a prodigious, nay, industrial degree! It is the first gardening book that I have read that bears the warning: "This book contains strong language."
Mind you, it's one of the few gardening books that made me think: "Yes! I could do that!"
It is published by Apex, www.apexpublishing.co.uk at £9.99.
Pictures of Chas and his Rock and Roll Allotment - Chas Hodges
Chas and his Rock and Roll Allotment - Chas Hodges