Minding My Peas and Cucumbers: Book Review

If you have an allotment: Read this book

If you want an allotment or are thinking about it: You need to read this book

If you don't have an allotment: Read this book anyway

Why? I hear you ask...

If you have an allotment: you will be squirming and giggling with that uncomfortable sense of delight that Kay Sexton has a plot on your allotment, but you haven't met her yet. You may even recognise yourself in the character(s) she portrays. Failing that there's quite a few recipes in there you probably haven't tried yet which will come in handy for those future gluts.

If you want an allotment: Kay really tells it like it is, including all the hard bits*. You will be going into the deal not only with your eyes wide open but also armed with lots of useful little nuggets of information all those shiny, authoritative looking Grow Your Own books have somehow forgotten to mention. Failing that, you will see how inventive allotment folk have to be to use up their annual harvest.

If you don't have an allotment: you will realise that allotment life encompasses the whole of the real world in miniature and you will enjoy the stories she recounts about the version of it up at her plot. Failing that, there's always the deliciously unusual recipes to try...

Kay has beaten me to it and written the book I've always wanted to tell. Mr Allotment Warden, Threadspider and Fred to name but three can all sleep easy in their beds from now on.

This is an entertaining read which is also useful. I wish I'd had seen Kay's advice years ago re taking a whistle for lonely evenings up at the plot. The 5 stitches I needed for my leg one time would have been far less traumatic had I had the means to summon help more loudly. The reality of years of co-working, allotment managing and service on the allotment committee before getting a plot of one's own was quite an eye opener too.

My thanks to the publisher, Summersdale for giving me the opportunity to review this book :D

* = Yes it is hard work, but that's what makes allotmenteering enjoyable and the harvest all the sweeter.


  1. I read this book some time back and agree wholeheartedly that its def worth a read.

    I loved the gentle humour and the allotment based stories. I gave my copy to Elizabeth last summer.

    Wonder what she made of it, I had forgotten to ask.

  2. Good review VP. I'm reading a similar book at the moment, mainly because it's written by a local chap and I know the allotments he's tackled. This is a good way to pick up real life tips and I think this one will be added to my wish list as well.

  3. Sounds intriguing - will look out for it.

  4. This may well be my Xmas gardening book to myself as there are no others on the list at the moment! Flighty xx

  5. You'll just have to think of another book idea!
    What about: a garden blogger who solves unusual crimes in the places she visits...
    Or: a garden blogger who solves the 100-year-old mystery of a ghost story in a garden she volunteers to work on...
    Or: an allotmenteer who inherits (unexpectedly) a fortune, along with a delapidated stately home that has a vast, neglected garden. She proceeds to restore it but has to fight off a lawsuit from a rival claimant to the estate (who may or may not be called Matthew Appleby...)
    Do you think I read too many crappy novels? Anyway, you've inspired to read THIS book!

  6. I have already had a sneaky peek on my Kindle. Your review has convinced me and I have just ordered a copy :)

  7. Hi everyone - good to see Zoe agrees this is a good 'un and some of you are inspired to see for yourself.

    Victoria - NAH's been enjoying the copies of Agatha Christie's novels you left for us ;)

    Your novel (!) suggestions have given me the giggles :)

  8. Now I've posted my own review, I'm reading the ones other bloggers have written. (There do seem to be a lot of them and of those I've read so far, universally approving.)


  9. Esther - I think August's miserable weather has meant we've needed cheering up and this book has done that :)


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