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06/02/2012 13:39:00

Grow Your Own Vegetables by Joy Larkcom

It's that time of year when you can't get an awful lot done in the cold, wet muddy garden, and even if you could, your heart is longing for a warm fire, thick socks and hot chocolate.

But you can keep yourself happy by planning the year ahead. Flicking through seed catalogues (what my other half refers to as garden porn...) and cooing over all the things you'd love to grow is an essential part of the veg growers year. It's easy to get carried away and buy everything, then find you haven't got the room, the time or a suitable site to grow half your new purchases.

It's for this reason that I come back, year after year, to Joy Larkcom's book Grow Your Own Vegetables. This seminal classic doesn't ever seem to date and is still probably the most comprehensive guide to growing veg you can find. It's not as glamorous as some other books (there are no colour pictures and only a few line drawings), it doesn't contain any photos of TV gardeners in disturbingly chic wellies drinking coffee while leaning on their spade and looking smug. It is, however, a detailed, down to earth guide to hundreds of different foods and how to grow them.

There is also bags of advice at the beginning of the book about how to site plants, intercrop them, use small spaces effectively, suggested planting schemes for different types of household, and a brilliant table assessing all the plants in the book in terms of their Value for Space ratio.

I have loads of gardening books, and I love them. But if I had to be stranded on a desert island with a seed catalogue and one gardening book, I'd probably grab this one. (If I were allowed two, I'd take this and the Vegetable and Herb Expert.)

If you're also picking your plants for this year, and haven't got Joy Larkcom's book, I have a copy to give away for free to one blog reader.

Just leave a comment about what you're planning to grow this year or why you think the book would help you and I'll send the book whizzing out to a reader whose name my daughter will pull out of her new cow-face hat (Christmas present - thanks Uncle Duncan) next Thursday (16th Feb) at 4pm.


Congratulations Denise Hodgetts, and here is the cow hat for anyone who wonders what a cow hat looks like!
Everyone else who took part, thank you, and I'll be sending you a discount offer by email to say thank you.


(Karen could you please email me at so I know what your email address is as I don't have your name in the system, thanks.)







09/02/2012 12:52:00 by wendy stanger

Will be growing lots of different things - as my kids like to try them when theyv grown them.

I could do with some help with my tomatoes though as for the last couple of years they have been terrible both in the greenhouse and in the veg plot!!

09/02/2012 13:41:00 by Janet Flett

I'm looking forward to the 'chill' finishing and getting into the veg plot. I'd like to be a bit more adventurous with the crops this year. The grandchildren love to be involved and will try anything they help to grow. I'm sure the book would inspire them and me! Janet

09/02/2012 15:14:00 by ann miller

I work at Thoresby Primary School in Hull. This year we are working hard with the children to grow our own veg. We know there is lots of hard work ahead, planning what to grow and growing the veg, This book that you are offering as a give away would be a fantastic help for the children to look through and plan their garden...... fingers crossed

09/02/2012 16:28:00 by Denise Hodgetts

We desperately need some sort of reference book for our staff to use in planning our vegetable plot. We've got the materials, we've got the equipment, but it is the knowhow we lack..... please help.

09/02/2012 17:09:00 by H.Love

I am a childminder who hasn't got green fingers! My husband has made us some low level planters and I would love to plant some veg with the kids this year. However I haven't a clue where to start!
I am hoping this book will help!!

09/02/2012 19:20:00 by karen miles

I run an after school gardening club at the school where I work as a teaching assistant. There are twenty-one enthusiastic, lively children between the ages of 7 and 10 in our club and at this time of the year we are planning our vegetable garden. This book would really help the children to create a plot full of tasty cook and enjoy in our new school kitchen.

10/02/2012 14:10:00 by sam goldsworthy

I am an accredited childminder and would like to grow vegetables with the children to eat. I would like the book to help me and the children to choose what to grow

12/02/2012 19:40:00 by TopVeg

We need help with our parsnip growing. We used to grow big parsnips but we seem to have lost the nack - so would love to see if the book has any ideas
Thanks - hope we make the cow faced hat!


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