Book Review: First Time Veg Grower
This is a no-nonsense, budget, pocket-sized guide to the basics about growing vegetables. Written by Martyn Cox and aimed at the beginner, it covers the 16 most popular vegetables which people like to grow. Look elsewhere for a book covering the more unusual or exotic: this is all about growing the vegetables which will provide a meal just for yourself or your family.
At its heart are two key questions: How much time do you have? and What do you like to eat? Far too many other guides forget these fundamental questions and then we see plenty of articles wondering why enthusiastic gardeners give up with growing their own. All the basics are covered from getting to know your soil, tools of the trade, choosing which varieties to grow, sowing seeds and planting out. The practical possibilities of what can grown in the tiniest of places to a full-scale allotment are explored.
Detailed instructions for growing the 16 'Foolproof vegetables' are given - covering beetroot, broad beans, carrots, chilli/sweet peppers, courgettes, kale, lettuces, onions, potatoes, radishes, rocket, runner beans, salad leaf mixtures, salad onions, swiss chard and tomatoes. Once these crops have been mastered, then the gardener is well-equipped to try any others they might fancy.
The final section of the book is all about garden maintenance: watering, feeding, a glance at pest & disease control (though there is a more detailed companion volume: "Gardeners' World": Pests and Diseases on this subject available, which will also be reviewed shortly), composting, soil improvement, crop protection and attracting wildlife to be your 'garden helpers'. Finally harvesting and storage tips are given.
All this is packed into a pocket-sized book of 208 pages, plus a decent index and plenty of helpful photographs. Good value for the price and guaranteed to encourage the most reluctant of vegetable growers to have a go.