The Kitchen Gardener - Alan Titchmarsh
Book Type: Hard Back Book Number of Pages: 312 Author: Alan Titchmarsh Alan's comprehensive guide will tell you everything you could possibly want or ...
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Review of "The Kitchen Gardener - Alan Titchmarsh"
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**INTRODUCTION**I am a keen gardener love being outside in my garden, well when it is warm and not raining which as been a big problem this year as that is mostly all we have had. You would think that would be great for the garden which in a sense it was for a few days but then tend to kill off my plants. My mother in law bought me this book for my birthday a couple of years ago now, and it was the most helpful present I have ever had and to this day I still read through and get some helpful information from it. This book would only interest people that into gardening and most importantly into growing there own fruit and vegetables, or that are thinking about it. There is plenty of information in this book to help anyone start planting there own fruit and vegetables, and because it is written by Alan Titchmarsh you know it is going to be very informative and in depth.
**ABOUT THE BOOK**This is a book sharing information with everyone that is interested in gardening especially in growing your own fruit and vegetables. It offers help and guidance in many aspects of the planting, from the preparation of the soil, sowing the seeds, to harvesting. The whole book is coloured pictured except the odd page with black and white diagrams. Lets turn to the first page.
-Ground Rules-The first page will talk you through the sites and situations of where to plant your fruit and vegetables, you do have to be careful when choosing a spot for your crops as you don’t want it to be to shady, to sunny, to windy, to stony, I think you get the message on this. It gives you the best sites to plant your crops so that you get the best healthy harvest. You also don’t want to place your crop in non draining soil as this will kill your plants straight away by the rotting of the roots. So getting the spot right in your garden is a must.
-Design-Next we come to the design, this step talks about the designing of your garden, and plotting out where the plants are you to be planted, some plants can be put together; other plants need to be planted alone. You can really design your garden around the planting of fruits and vegetables, and all planting don’t have to be in the garden they can be placed into nice pots around your garden, in a fashionable way. Always think about before planting anything, what you like to eat, where is best to put the plants, how many to plant, and the ease of storing them once they have been harvested. There are many ways which you can plant your vegetables and fruit, you can have them all scattered around your garden or in pots, or you can place like all the salad vegetables together, herbs in another plot, and so on. Always plan ahead before making any changes to your garden.
-Growing in vegetable beds-Now we come to the beds, most of you probably not know what I am talking about here, a vegetable bed is a box raised from the ground, where you can fill it up with compost, then place your seedlings into it, you don’t have to have raised off the garden if you don’t want, but it will keep them healthier and might reduce the chances of getting pest on them. They do make your vegetables look more attractive and can make your garden tidier too. There is a diagram on how to make them, or you can buy them from any garden centre. The beds are great for placing certain vegetables together or making a herb bed. You can make them as deep as you like, it’s entirely up to you. I do think I will be giving this ago next year and see how they turn out as I know that my plants would benefit from being in them.
-Growing in Containers-Now then for people that don’t have a lot of space in their garden then you can always grow your crops in containers, anything deep enough will do as long as it is cleaned out thoroughly, or you can buy the plant pots from any DIY store or garden centre’s. All pots come in different colours, size and shapes choose the right one for yourself and what would look good in them. I know you can grow crops in containers successfully as I do it every year, although the size of the crop does depend on the size of the container you have put it in. There is a lot of useful information about growing in containers and really does help. I think it is probably safer than planting in your garden, you hardly get any weeds, fill up with compost whenever you need to, pests are at minimum, although does depend where you put them. Containers can be put anywhere, garden, greenhouse, windowsill, conservatory, anywhere.
-Allotments-Now for people that have allotment are lucky people, as I have wanted one now for a couple of years and I am still awaiting for a plot right near me. Allotments are plots of land that is rented to you, on the condition your keep it weed free and tidy and no nicking plants off other plots. It is very cheap as well; I would be paying £30 a year, to plant what I want when I want and how many I want. Allotments give you more space to plant your crops, and a wider space for your crops to expand, but only grown crops that you don’t use everyday otherwise you will find yourself running to the allotment, if your growing potatoes, leeks and carrots or something that is used quite often within your home cooking then bring a bag of each with you or just enough to get you by until next time you go. There is a lot of useful information in the book about this.
-Soil Preparation-Always make sure you read this page before starting any planting as this is the important step out them all. The preparation of the soil to where you are planting your crops is essential, making sure there are no stones, clay, it drains well, or weeds are out along with the roots, all grass took up and roots removed too, then you need to dig over the soil again, and give it a rake through. Alan talks about the best ways to get your soil in the best condition for planting your seeds or seedlings, and making sure they stay healthy whilst in the soil. This normally only done when you first start out, but always dig over through the winter to keep the soil fresh and clear of weeds, if your not planning on planting anything for a few months then you can always use a weed killer on the soil to help get rid of the weeds. So much information on this and is an interesting read.
-Fertiliser and Matter-Fertilisers and matters are a main part in the healthiness of your crops, you might be wondering what matter is, well it’s the soils roughage, it keeps the ground moistened, but also lets the wet seep through the ground for drainage, so keeps your plant well moistened so no need for watering constantly. But you still need the use of fertilisers for the goodness it provides to the plant, and the nutrients the plant needs to survive and stay healthy. This is an interesting page in the book and it has helped me loads in understanding what matter is and what it does, and also gives you a list of fertilisers that are used and what they are used on in particular.
-Composting-Now you can either buy the compost from garden centre or DIY places, or you can even make your own although it can tend to be very smelly but it does give you excellent compost that has not cost you a penny, depending you do it right. You have do’s and don’ts when making your own compost into what you can throw into the bin, but Alan does explain all this in the book, and I was very successful a couple of years ago with getting my own compost just right and was a great achievement. And I had quite a lot of it too, so I know it is possible to make your own. You can either have a part of your garden that is hidden away somewhere, or you can buy a compost bin, or even make your own, any food wastes goes in, greens, leafs, grass cuttings, anything that can break down and rot.
-Sowing Seeds-Now comes the interesting part, the sowing of your seeds, as it states in the book and refers to on the packets of seeds, some seeds go directly into the soil, others are planted in seeds trays and kept either on a window sill or in a warm greenhouse, the warmth gives the seeds good growing conditions, and helps them grown better. Even through some seeds have to be planted straight in the soil doesn’t mean they cannot be covered up, most of the seeds need to be protected from mice and birds, as they will take them out of the soil. They also need to be covered up to stay warm so they can grow, so you can either buy cloche’s or a cold frame that will cover up your seeds or even polytunnel, these are made of fleece to keep in the warmth, the cloche’s are made from plastic and usually found in the shape of a bell. If you don’t want to buy things like this then it is just as effective to cut a plastic bottle in half and place them over your seeds, which is something I have down, although make sure they are sturdy in the ground as you don’t want them blowing away in the winds. The sowing of the seeds are all planted at different times of the year so always read the packet and follow the instructions.
-Hardening Off-What does this mean I hear you say, hardening off was also new to me until I read in this book what it means, it just means that any seedlings that have been inside, and that needs to be transplanted outside needs to get accustomed to the weather. You cannot take a seedling straight off your kitchen window sill and straight into the garden as it would die, mostly of shock. You need to do it slowly and daily, but always keep them covered up at night, as you know temperatures do drop through the night and can also form frost. Alan covers this in the book and is helpful.
-Feeding and watering your plants-Being careful not to over do the feeding and watering of your plants, this can do more harm than good, as it can rot the plants roots and then they die. If you’re using matter or anything else that will absorb water, then you don’t need to water them so often, always checking the ground is not to wet. Feeding the plants is a must as this provides nutrients to your plant and keeps them healthy in the growing stages and helps with the goodness and successfulness of a good harvest of the crop. Vegetables, fruits and herbs are all different and so they all need feeding and watering differently, Alan makes sure he shares with you how many times and what is used on each of these crops for successful and healthy crops.
-Weeding-This is something that is also essential when growing your own vegetables and fruits, weeds can occur very rapidly sometimes, and can harm your crops very badly, weeds carry a lot of pests and insecticides which can be passed onto your crops and may kill them, or give them bad diseases. Weeding needs to be done as soon as possible, keeping it weeds free, but do not use any weed killer and this will kill your crops. Alan tells your how to successfully weed your garden without harming your plants. Planting in containers you will not spend more than a few minutes taking out the weeds but they are minimum which is why I enjoy planting most things in containers.
-Pests and Protection-Alan gives you good insight about pests and how to protect your crops during the bad weather and also against pest and birds. There are quite a few pest killers out there that are fine and safe to use on the drops that you will be eating, I was a little bit weary as there must be chemicals of some kind in it, but doesn’t harm us only the pests. The most problems I have is mostly black fly, white fly, caterpillars, slugs and snails, I hate slugs and snails they are pest I really hate the most as they eat your crops and leaves you with big holes in the leaves, and so do caterpillars. You can use pellets to eliminate the slugs and snails but they tend to still get to the crops to have a feast.
-The working calendar-Alan as written a calendar and shared with you in the book which is a great idea, especially if your new to planting your own vegetables. You start out in your garden in March that is normally when you are ready to be planting seeds, your given jobs to do within the calendar. You have jobs for vegetables/salads, fruit and also for the herbs, the list consists of sowing the seeds in the warmth, sow under cover, sow outdoors, plants outside, plant under cover, harvest undercover and harvest outside. This goes from March throughout the year, so helps you keep track of what and when to do things. You can also keep your own calendar which is ideal especially when you’re just starting out.
-Vegetables, fruits and herbs-Now the rest of the book contains information on vegetables, fruits and herbs that are available to be home grown, this is very handy to everyone whether you’re an expert or not. The pages are broke down into sections, first you will have a small calendar underneath the picture of the vegetable, fruit or herb your viewing, telling you when to sow your seeds, when to plant them, and when they are due to be harvested. You have then a short description of the crop, how to grown it, how difficult it is to grow, and also the secrets of success, you will also have an insight on the varieties it has, harvesting the crop, and any problems you may come to along the way. You may also view the culinary tips, on some of the crops in the book too, which is very handy as many of the crop I have either never heard of or don’t know how to cook them or what to have with it. Its very handy this part of the book, and is full of information for anyone that is growing there own vegetables, herbs and fruits.
**AVAILABILITY AND PRICE**Well like I mentioned I don’t know where my mother in law bought this from as I got it has a birthday present. Although you can buy it from places like Amazon £14, and wh smith £14. I do have to say it is worth every penny to buy this book; it is very handy and very informative.
**FINAL THOUGHTS**I am so glad I got this book, its become a great book for me and learned from it. I didn’t have much luck this year in being successful with any of my crops, because of the weather and with the wind blowing my greenhouse apart I didn’t have anywhere warm to keep them, but not only that it was too bad weather for me to transplant them outside anyhow. The book is well worth the money and I know I will be probably be buying more of the Alan Titchmarsh books, as I am that keen in gardening and I know he is a fantastic gardener too. I would like to try out some new crops next year if the weather is nice and sunny, and hopefully will get my greenhouse up again. I do hope this review was helpful, and maybe you might try giving it ago at growing your own fruit, veg and herbs, because there is no taste like it.
Product Information : The Kitchen Gardener - Alan Titchmarsh
Manufacturer's product descriptionBook Type: Hard Back Book Number of Pages: 312 Author: Alan Titchmarsh Alan's comprehensive guide will tell you everything you could possibly want or need to know about fruit and veg and how to grow it, including herbs, baby veg, salads, every-day fruits plus gourmet or unusual varieties, and how to fit them into today's stylish small gardens.
Author: Alan Titchmarsh
Title: The Kitchen Gardener
Listed on Ciao since: 30/11/2009