Book Review – Reader’s Digest Gardening/Allotment Book

I was asked by Reader’s Digest to review one of their gardening books titled ‘Food From Your Garden & Allotment’, since receiving the book I have struggled to put it down. As an avid reader and vegetable gardening book collector I’m shocked this book was not already part of my armoury. The book covers 5 colour coded sections which are packed with essential information on everything you need to know and perhaps didn’t know about growing, preserving and cooking food raised from your back garden or allotment plot.

  • A Basic Guide to the Kitchen Garden
  • Growing and Cooking
  • The Food Growers Calendar
  • Pests and Diseases
  • Home Preserving

Each of the above sections contain detailed and precise information over a vast range of  topics with handy techniques, in-depth explanations and illustrations. Section 1 teaches how to plan your kitchen garden, know your soil type and tools, weed identification and techniques covering how to sow, transplant and prune. Section 2 is packed with a fantastic A-Z guide to growing herbs, fruit and vegetables including tips on how to harvest, prepare and cook each crop for the table. Section 3 covers the growing seasons and what you can expect to be growing and harvesting, with handy seasonal recipes as well as easy to follow lists of jobs to complete for each growing season to get your kitchen garden off to a flying start. Section 4 covers pests and diseases, each with an A-Z guide and clear illustrations. Section 5 really is the jewel in the crown for me, there are not many grow your own books that cover preserving to this level. I was very impressed with the at-a-glance guide to freezing produce, outlining clear information on exactly how to prepare each fruit/vegetable for the freezer. There are recipes galore for jam making, bottling, pickling, relishes, vinegars, chutneys, jellies, wine making and much more.

The photography is stylish, (which is probably one of the first things that I tend to notice and appreciate with gardening books) format, writing style and step by step guides are straight forward to follow. The book would be enjoyed and useful to the beginner, enthusiast and professional, covering a wide range of topics from garden design and handy techniques to in-depth explanations of growing many different crops. The information this book contains will probably be all you need to help get started with growing and cooking your own grown produce.

If you like interesting recipes you won’t be disappointed with this book, I’m certainly glad it’s part of my book collection.

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7 comments

  1. Great review Karen, I might have to give it a look. If you want another preserve book (you may already have it) the River Cottage Handbook No.2 ‘Preserves’ is fantastic. I’m growing nasturtiams this year….simply because I want to try out the book’s recipe for nasturtiam capers!

  2. You’re right Geoff, I already have it AND I’m growing nasturtium too! I cannot wait to try fruit cheeses and butters from the book I have reviewed, I do love fruity cheese.

  3. I’m not surprised that it’s a good book as I was recommended and bought Reader’s Digest The Allotment Gardener’s Cookbook last year. I’m not much of a cook beyond the basics but I’ve tried, mostly successfully, various of the receipes. xx

  4. I like the sound of this book, Reader’s Digest is usually a good go-to for reliable information but, if I add it to my wishlist, where to put it on an already overstuffed gardening bookshelf? I’ll see if I can check it out in a local bookshop though and might well be tempted. Nice review!

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