Allotment Book review: Grow your food for free, well almost!

There is a plethora of allotment books in the world right now, one could almost say a glut! And of course I’ve added my own book to the heap, so I have no right to complain, but some of the books out there are really not much use to the serious grower, and misleading to the novice one.

Not so Dave Hamilton’s Grow Your Food for Free, well almost. It’s a book that fills a niche (which is the whole point of a specialist subject book, there are far too many coffee table style allotment books out there, full of lovely pictures and devoid of useful information) and that niche is upskilling and informing the environmentally conscious (and conscientious) frugal food-grower. I can’t recommend it too highly because, apart from anything else, I am horrified at the amount of money I see new allotment-holders spending on their plots, only to vanish after a couple of months: all their expensive kit gets thrown away, or ruined by the weather and then the next person to take on the plot, all too often repeats the same process.

Dave shows people how to create paths, make wicking beds, build a compost heap (although if you are a novice composter, think twice before using the fence corner as he suggests: you may rot out your fence if you don’t get your compost mix right!) and even how to build a shed. He also focuses on rarely discussed areas of allotment life such as foraging. As I am about to make rose petal jelly from foraged rose blooms I really do applaud this approach: once you get used to growing your own, it’s a simple change of focus that reveals food everywhere, going to waste, and allows you to harvest and consume it without damaging the environment.

The illustrations may not suit those more used to stylish allotment books but they have the virtue of being accurate and detailed. The tips, hints and ideas are all superb – if you are a seasoned grower you will still learn something from this book.

I recommend it, even if you don’t have a plot of your own yet, because you can get on with foraging, cooking and storing food even before you reach the top of the allotment list. It’s the best book on allotments (apart from my own, of course) that I’ve read for many a year!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

5 Comments:

Blogger Pegg said...

Thanks for the tip - I think I'll get it ordered straightaway. Fingers crossed he's got some good uses for red chard...mine is growing faster than we can eat it now!
What's the title of your book?

June 8, 2011 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Mine is "Minding My Peas and Cucumbers: Quirky Tales of Allotment Life"! Not sure Dave has any particular uses for red chard though ...

June 11, 2011 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Pegg said...

What a great name :-) I've ordered it from Amazon, so judging by the dispatch date, I've got 5 days to get through "Growing your food for free" before yours arrives! Looks like a weekend of days on the plot with long soaks in the bath with the book in the evening :-)

June 17, 2011 at 5:04 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Thank you Pegg, I hope you enjoy it!

June 22, 2011 at 7:21 AM  
Anonymous voucher codes for Tesco said...

This sounds like a great book. I'd really like to start growing my own food. The cost of food is getting crazy, even when trying to save using voucher codes etc. I'd also like to know where my food has come from!

November 17, 2011 at 4:28 AM  

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