Book Review : The Allotment Planner by Matthew Appleby

I'm not generally a fan of allotment planners. Seems a waste to spend anywhere between £10 and £20 for something that will generally only last a year. Why not dispense with the pretty images, worthy quotations and general advice and just use a cheap notebook? The money saved will allow you to buy a quality allotment manual that will last for years.

So why is it I found myself warming to Matthew Appleby's The Allotment Planner? Not for the space allowed to jot down notes... less than four A5 pages per month to scribble planting times, varieties tried and end results. And with lines of varying lengths to allow for the author's planting tips, illustrations and, yes, inevitable quotations, the space allowed isn't very conducive to an ordered record. You might not buy this book to keep a serious history of your planting efforts.

What does makes the book that little bit different is the way it makes you think laterally about enjoying your plot. I didn't realise the Dutch often live in their sheds throughout the summer on their allotments. Why not try the occasional overnight camp? How about cooking Sunday dinner on a sunny day in a hangi? Or hold a 'Come dine with me' competition with allotment neighbours? How about turning part of your plot into a wildflower (and wildlife) garden, blog about your plot or turn it into an artists paradise, with pictures, mosaics and murals? There are money making ideas such as gathering and selling seeds, herbs, flowers, jam or chutney.

The book is more a generator of ideas and enthusiasm than a planner. Packed into its 190 pages are 52 weekly topics where the subject matter is dealt with in some depth, 156 ideas on how to take each topic further (i.e. three per topic) and 9 step by step pictorial guides for more major projects. Add to that monthly bullet points for what to sow, plant and harvest and you can't help but come away with novel intentions for your patch. Some at first sound a bit 'unusual' (build a bmx track for the kids? grow truffles?) but with a bit more thought the brain cells move from 'you're kidding' to 'why not?'.

At £12.00 (using the discount offer below, normal RRP £14.99) the book is well priced for the good quality of its contents and binding. Buy it for yourself as a decent guide on what to sow, plant and harvest each month, for guidance on standard things such as composting and raised bed building as well as the many idea generating themes. Even better, get it on your Christmas list.

And the paucity of note space? Why not record using post it notes, stick them in the appropriate month and retain the most useful ones at the end of the year? That way the book will give you many years of useful and thought provoking service.

To order The Allotment Planner at the discounted price of £12.00 including p&p* (RRP: £14.99), telephone 01903 828503 or email and quote the offer code APG34. 

Alternatively, send a cheque made payable to Littlehampton Book Services to...

Littlehampton Book Services Mail Order Department,
PO Box 4264, 
Worthing, West Sussex 
BN13 3RB. 

Quote the offer code APG34 and include your name and address details.

The publishers are Frances Lincoln.

* UK ONLY - Add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You might also like...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...