Friday, 17 January 2014

Charles Dowding's Veg Journal

I was asked if I'd like to review Charles Dowding's Veg Journal which has recently been published by Frances Lincoln (www.franceslincoln.com , @Frances_Lincoln). I was especially interested in hearing more about the no-dig advice contained in this book, so I was happy to go ahead.


The book has a sturdy hardback cover and would stand up to being used for reference on an allotment plot or outside in the veg patch.

The introduction explains that gardening feels more fulfilling when jobs are spread throughout the year. With this in mind, the book's aim is to travel through a year of vegetable growing, covering the most important seasonal tasks and explaining some jobs which keep cropping up.

Charles Dowding has a no-dig approach to gardening and he explains in the book why he gardens this way and how no-dig works. There's also a section on creating no-dig beds.


Photos demonstrate the difference in soil when it hasn't been dug.


The book is set out month by month, as I expected it would be. Each monthly section contains space to write notes as well as giving a list of jobs for the month.


Further information is given on some of the jobs mentioned, such as composting, harvesting and weeding. I shall find the section on common annual weeds very helpful as I'm always stumped when it comes to weeds, what they're called and how they grow.


I think this book would be excellent for beginners as the How To Grow pages give clear information on where and when to sow, time from sowing to planting, when to plant and spacing and care. There's also lots of tips which will be very useful to a novice. All the most common vegetables are covered, and many more besides.


There's many other topics covered in the book. One which every gardener needs to know is Tackling Pests and Diseases. We never get a season without some pest damage to our crops.


The Seed Saving Tips are something I'm interested in. I don't save much seed myself but it's something I'm keen to improve on.


I haven't read the book from cover to cover but from what I have read, I would say that this book is aimed more at the beginner, though there are certainly some topics which will be useful to the more experienced gardener.

As you can see, each topic is illustrated beautifully, there's some really lovely photos in the book.

If you fancy this book yourself, the publishers are offering a copy as a giveaway prize. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post before twelve noon on Friday the 24th of January 2014, after which, a name will be drawn at random. Please note that this giveaway is open to UK/EU only and that I will be passing on the winner's name and address details to the publishing company in order for them to send out your prize.

To order Charles Dowding's Veg Journal at the discounted price of £12.00 including p&p* (RRP: £14.99), telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quote the offer code APG69. 

Alternatively, send a cheque made payable to: 
Littlehampton Book Services Mail Order Department, 
Littlehampton Book Services, 
PO Box 4264, 
Worthing, West Sussex 
BN13 3RB. 

Please quote the offer code APG69 and include your name and address details. 

*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

40 comments:

  1. I'd very much like to be in the prize draw please, looks an interesting book.
    Dan

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    1. It is interesting. I haven't come across a veg journal with information about no-dig gardening before. I've put your name in the hat.

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  2. This sounds better than the journal i was asked to review a while ago. I must have drawn the short straw.

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    1. I enjoyed The Allotment Planner, but even though both books are based on a similar theme, a yearly planner/journal, they're both quite different. This Veg Journal is definitely worth a read. I hope you get a book you enjoy when you next do a review.

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    2. Maybe people will avoid asking me after I wrote a not very favourable review of the other book! You have to give an honest opinion though or it's of no value and we all have different tastes.

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    3. A review definitely has to be honest, but as you say, we all have different tastes and opinions so what one person likes or thinks is of value is not necessarily going to be the view of someone else.

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  3. I'm presently reading this book and will be reviewing it soon so please don't include me in the draw.
    This is an excellent review of a really useful book.
    Flighty xx

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    1. Thank you. I hope you're enjoying the book too. I haven't read it cover to cover, but it's one of those books you can keep dipping in to, and I certainly will. There's some really interesting subjects covered.

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  4. Sounds like a great book. I'm quite interested in how no digging works as well. Great to have those weeds identified too, I'm sure I have all of them at the allotment!

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    1. The no-dig method is something which will attract many people to the book, I'm sure. I'm hoping that my new plot won't have quite so many weeds as the old plot did, well, I can live in hope.

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  5. Jo, as you become more experienced at gardening there seem to be fewer books at the right level for you! I would certainly like to learn more about the No-Dig method though. Please enter me into your draw. Thanks.

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    1. That's very true. I think many gardening books are more helpful to the novice gardener, even if they're aimed at the more experienced market. Certain topics can be very useful to read though, I can usually find something of interest in most books. I've put your name in the hat.

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  6. Hi

    I would love to win this book as it would help me no end on the allotment.

    Donna

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    1. I've put your name in the hat. There's some great hints and tips in the book which would definitely help on the allotment.

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  7. Thanks for the review Jo. Had seen mention of this elsewhere and was planning to look out for it, as I have a couple of the author's other books which are excellent. No dig sounds like a recipe for an easier life. Would love to be entered for the draw :)

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    1. I've popped your name in the hat. I don't know very much about no-dig, but I think the hardest part would be getting out of the actual habit of digging, I think it just comes naturally when you've got an allotment.

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  8. One interesting piece! I would love to have it - please, include me in the draw. Thanks a lot!

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    1. The book's really interesting, it covers a range of topics with some great advice. I've popped your name in the hat.

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  9. Oh dear - a Charles Dowding book I don't own. And SO close to pay day!

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    1. It's very tempting, isn't it? I'll pop your name in the hat.

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  10. I think it's an interesting book.

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    1. There's some really interesting topics covered in the book. I shall be dipping in and out of it for quite some time yet. A handy reference.

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  11. You did an excellent review of this book, Jo. I am a 'no-dig' gardener myself and teach workshops on the subject. I may purchase this book to get Dowding's spin on the topic. Hope the weather is OK there -- we have snow again. P. x

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    1. Thank you. It's interesting to hear of the no-dig approach to gardening, it isn't something I've ever considered myself but it obviously works and the explanation behind it certainly makes sense. We're having a very mild winter so far, no sign of snow here.

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  12. I am very interested in the no dig approach, seems to be the way to keep a healthy back! The book looks very good indeed. A good review as well. Thanks for sharing this, always good to stay up to date on gardening books.

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    1. Digging certainly does take it out on your back. This book is definitely worth a read, there's different content from other journal type books, which is good.

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  13. I've read another of his books, his Vegetable Course and it is really interesting the 'no-dig' approach. He's doing a class/talk at Harlow Carr in March. I can't decide whether to book on it. Though it may be fully booked already.

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    1. I haven't read any of his other books, but I shall certainly look out for them now. The talk at Harlow Carr sounds interesting, I should imagine it will be very popular.

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  14. I've inadvertently practised No-Dig in the past due to topping up beds with manure or compost and just tickling it in. I have a couple of books by Charles Dowding and would like to go on one of his courses when there's time. You've given an excellent and detailed review, Jo, which makes me think that this is a book worth reading - as you say, plenty of advice for both novice and more seasoned gardeners alike! I'd like to be added to your draw but may well buy the book for myself anyway. Sounds like a good addition to the bookshelf!

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    1. I've added your name to the hat. There's definitely something for everyone in this book, lots of different topics and plenty of hints and tips. I think his courses would be really interesting.

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  15. I would love to win this book as it would help me no end in my garden so please kindly add my name to the hat if it's not too late

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    1. It's not too late, your name has been added to the hat. Good luck.

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  16. I missed this post, I would love to be entered if possible Jo. xx

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    1. I've put you're name in the hat. Good luck, it's a great book.

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  17. I'm a huge fan of Charles Dowding. I was lucky enough to visit his garden a few years ago. His soil was absolutely incredible. I've never seen soil like it before - so dark and crumbly. Sounds like a fab book.

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    1. How lovely being able to see his garden for yourself. His soil is obviously a good advertisement for no dig gardening. It's a great book, I can recommend it.

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  18. Gosh...I could have sworn I'd commented on this....still...what an interesting read that sounds. Please throw my name in the hat!xxx

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    1. I'm sure everyone could take something away from this book, it covers so many topics. Your name is in the hat.

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  19. Please also add me to the hat as I would love to win this journal. I love the no dig method but still have to do some digging, as my front garden potager is usually full of weeds and the quickest way to get rid of all the weeds before planting in spring is to digg.

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    1. I will certainly add your name to the hat. It's interesting to hear that you use the no dig method some of the time, perhaps this book would help in your quest to rid your potager of weeds.

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