Not only did I learn from those on the allotment site I researched in many different books.
Learning from books on allotment gardening can save you a lot of time, money and effort. They cut your learning curve considerably and can increase your chances of success.
Growing vegetables and fruit is not one of those academic things that you can learn from books as you really only learn from a hands on experience.
However, you can increase your chances of success and make life a lot easier by knowing the basics. One person told me that in his first year he lost over 2/3rds of his crops. While no one can guarantee you won’t be the same as circumstances and weather conditions make a huge impact on us gardeners having a background knowledge to build on can make all the difference. I know it has to me.
Otherwise, how do you know what you are being told is true? Or how do you know if beds are better than rows or if square foot gardening would be better for you? Or if the tree you have just planted will be far too big for your spot or the raspberries will upset your neighbours?
The following books are ones I have used and recommend because I think they give a good overall knowledge. When my sister saw then she wanted to get them immediately. She got one but has to wait for the other one.
The Half Hour Allotment
This is the first allotment book I read. It is a fantastic book because it gives everyone a fighting chance. So many people give up in their first year because it is too much or they don’t get the results they hoped for.
This book helps you by showing you how you can do your allotment in only 2.5 hours per week. While I admit I haven’t made that especially in the spring and harvest time where it took me 7 hours to harvest 2 blackcurrant bushes! I know that are things that I can do to help reduce the time needed so that the time I am at the allotment is the time I want to be if it is longer than the 2.5 hours. For instance, the book has redcurrants and they are fanned so this would reduce picking time.
What I love about this book is that it gives you something that many others have missed and that is what you need to do BEFORE you get your allotment. Had I gotten the plot I wanted, for instance, it would have been completely wrong and a nightmare to tend.
Because they base it on a busy life, which let’s face it most of us have, it gives advice on the plants and fruits that are best for this type of growing. Which ones to avoid. Whether to use seed or pre-grown plants. This is a great starting point to make your decisions from giving you a better control of your time and space. This is especially important if you have a tiny plot like mine.
Actually according to the 1/2 Hour Allotment you can actually grow for a family of 4 in a space not much bigger than my 1/4 of a plot. Most people grow too much anyway.
What I love is that it actually gives you the quantities of plants you need to supply most of your needs without getting a glut. I wouldn’t have known this and it saves over planting. You can, of course, adapt this to your needs.
It doesn’t show you anything about storing or preserving as it isn’t designed to have any excess.
That is where the next book comes in. I wish I had had that right at the start. But even when I didn’t get it it was really worth it.
The Allotment Handbook
This book is beautifully laid out. It is simple to follow, clear and covers all the basics. It is a great companion to the first book as it covers the things the other book does not. It does a section on preserving and storing which is a great help.
It covers all the projects that you might need when setting up your allotment in clear easy to follow steps. With everything from creating a bed to an onion rack, it gives the beginner a good know how of what is needed and how.
While it does not give amounts and is not based on a short allotment work week, it does give some very good advice on different plants that you will need, what their needs are and how to care for them. Each area of plants is sectioned so they are easy to find.