In 2007, Carol Klein presented a 6 part series on the BBC – Grow your own veg.
The series came along at the right time for me. I’d started dabbling with growing some edibles such as tomatoes and chillies in a plastic greenhouse and when this programme all about growing your own vegetables aired on the TV, I was hooked.
After watching the series, I put my name down on the local allotment list and bought the accompanying book.
(Note: There are some affiliate links in this post, which means you can click on them to buy. If you do, I may get a small fee. It doesn’t affect the price you pay.)
A Practical Beginners Handbook
This book is a wonderfully illustrated, practical and inspiring beginner’s handbook to growing a huge variety of vegetables.
Three-quarters of the 224 pages are dedicated to how to grow individual vegetables.
The layout of the book is one of its best features. It provides the new to grow your own simple, easy-to-follow step by step instructions on how to grow a huge variety of veg.
Each individual vegetable section provides a quick glance sowing, planting and harvesting calendar, a guide to its cultivation and a list of recommended varieties.
No nonsense and enthusiastic
It can be overwhelming as a newcomer to growing veg. There seems so much to learn and understand.
In the beginning, all you want to do is to get growing and have something to show for it.
This book gives enough detail on a range of issues and areas such as soil improvement, weeding and managing pests without bogging new growers down or making them feel that growing vegetables is something beyond their grasp.
- 224 pages
- Generously illustrated
- Practical and inspiring
The Vegetables included in this book: Artichokes, Asparagus, Aubergine, Beans (broad, French, runner), Beetroot, Brassicas (broccoli, sprouting broccoli, Brussels sprouts), Capsicums, Cauliflower, Carrots, Celery and Celeriac, Chicory, Cucumbers, Fennel, Garlic, Leeks, Marrows and Courgettes, Pumpkins, Squashes, Melons, Okra, Onions and Shallots, Parsnips, Peas, Potatoes, Radishes, Rhubarb, Salad leaves, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Swedes and Turnips, Sweetcorn, Tomatoes.
Customer Reviews and Scores
At the time of writing, there have been 89 reviews on amazon for this book with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Eighty-six of the reviews have rated the book 4/5 stars.
One criticism I picked up from others is it does not provide enough detail on how to look after things (i.e what do you do if your tomatoes aren’t setting).
The majority of reviews have been positive:
‘Well written and illustrated’
‘The advice given is essential for those just starting out and even those who have been dabbling for a while’
‘This is probably one of the clearest, best organised and well-written books on this subject’
‘Very informative, easy to follow book’
I continue to find this book useful. Although it is targeted at the beginner, I think many veg growers would find the text a useful guide.
It’s true, this book doesn’t have a huge amount of detail on all aspects of growing vegetables, but I don’t think it’s required.
When I started out on the grow your own adventure, I needed a well-written book that was easy to follow and provided inspiration and step by step guidance. I believe the book achieves this.
Carol Klein’s book in available from Amazon here: RHS Grow Your Own: Veg (Royal Horticultural Society Grow Your Own)