My favourite gardening books

I have a large collection of gardening books. Seriously, combined with my cooking books, they pretty much occupy the two floor to ceiling bookshelves built into the alcoves in our dining room. However, I want to breakdown the absolute essentials. These are my gardening go-to books. They are read multiple times every single year.

Monty Don has, through his writing, provided me with endless inspiration. I have most of his books but the two I recommend the most are The Ivington Diaries and the Jewel Garden. There is practical knowledge to be gained from these books, but the real treasure from reading these books is passion. Monty’s passion oozes out of the pages. If I’m feeling unmotivated, low or uninspired, a few pages provides the medicine that has me diving out the door and reaching for the soil.

Garlic is such an important crop for me to grow on the allotment. I use it in the kitchen every single week, if not every single day. I stumbled across Robin Cherry’s book Garlic, an edible biography, and it made me fall more in love with the pungent bulb. I read it for it’s passion, its story, its insightful growing advice and its recipes.

Charles Dowding and Stephanie Hafferty transformed the way I grow vegetables. No dig has become the greatest change I’ve made on my allotment in the years of growing my own. All of Charles’ books are wonderful but the two I read every year are Organic Gardening the natural no dig way and Salad leaves for all seasons. I’ve never found gardening so easy, to plentiful and pleasurable since using Charles’ approach. Steph has provided me with endless support, encouragement and friendship. And through her writing, such as No dig Organic home and garden, she inspires me to use what I grow in the kitchen too.

Joy Larkcom is a pioneer in vegetable gardening. I wish I’d discovered her work earlier on. A few years ago, I read Grow your Own vegetables and I was amazed by the sheer amount of advice, skills and practical techniques. Highly recommended.

Finally, Back garden seed saving is a book I bought earlier this year. It has demystified seed saving. Trust me, this book will make you powerful.

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Book Review: The Creative Kitchen

What Steph brings to the kitchen through this book is a thorough experience not just in how to put the right ingredients together to create incredibly inspiring and colourful plant-based dishes, but a practical understanding of growing these crops in season from her own allotment garden. Continue reading “Book Review: The Creative Kitchen”

Book Review: The Almanac – A seasonal guide to 2019

If there is one thing I’ve learned from my allotment life other than the trials and tribulations of growing veg, it is the intricacy of the broader surroundings in which I exist. Continue reading “Book Review: The Almanac – A seasonal guide to 2019”

Book Review: The City Grower

I’m passionate about allotment gardens.

Sharpen Your Spades is a blog that allows me to share my own allotment journey and I hope helps inspire as many people as possible to take up one of these wonderful community growing spaces and reap the benefits they provide. Continue reading “Book Review: The City Grower”

Book Review: Grow Your Own Veg

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.

Continue reading “Book Review: Grow Your Own Veg”