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I only started gardening last summer and throughly enjoyed the trials and errors I had however this year I really want to get stuck in learn about everything I can. I have tried researching on the internet but I find I get mixed answers and different information. Can anyone recommend a book etc... That will give me all the advice and information I need to become a good gardener. I am very interested in growing vegetables..please help!


  • There are a multitude of books on veg gardening available, try your local library,

    First priority:- Assuming you growing in garden soil rather than containers, I would suggest that you aquire a soil test kit from a garden center and test your soil pH level. This will give you a good guide to what type of plants are best suited to your plot and if a lime dressing is required before you start. There is no point in trying to grow plants that prefer a high pH on an acid soil, or the reverse.

    I have myself made a list of vegetables that I would like to grow and did an online www search working down ther list one at a time i.e. "growing Broad Beans", "growing Cabbage", etc, etc. You can then look through the search results using copy and paste to create your own computer notes for reference. Bear in mind that growing Tomatoes in Scotland and Cuba will require different techniques due to climate, but can be done. I have found a lot of information on the web that has proved beneficial. Seed suppliers can be another useful source of information.

    Good luck


  • That is very helpful. I will invest in the soil test kit today while I have a day off Much appriciated MissB
  • Join your local horticultural association and you will get tried and tested advice from people with similar soil to yours. Charges are usually about £5 per year , which won't break anybody's bank.

    Somewhat more expensive, but very worthwhile is becoming a member of the Royal Horticultural Society this is about £40+ per year for an individual member. They had a huge campaign in 2011 about "growing your own" friut and veg that is. Apart from free entry into the 4 gardens (unfortunately all located in England) you will have the advice of world renowned experts which can be given by e-mail.

    Hope this helps.

  • A quick Google for advice is very useful, but sometimes it's nice to flick through paper pages and I recommend the RHS Step-by-step Gardening Techniques, also their Allotment Handbook. Some advice from a new gardener - don't get bogged down in reseach. We moved last March to a house with a big garden and the more I read the more I found out how little I knew, so kept putting off taking the first steps till suddenly it was May.

    I went to a nursery and bought cheap (it being so late in the season) seed potatoes, onion sets, leeks, a courgette plant, a butternut squash plant, 20 spinach beet plants and 4 runner bean plants. I stuck them in the ground, watered them daily till they were established and everything grew like triffids! (I was very lucky on the pest front, maybe because the soil is acid/sandy, on the edge of a heath?) Even the spinach beet and lettuce from seed did really well. The usual advice is to grow food that's expensive rather than cheap to buy, but I got huge satisfaction from feeding my family of four with my own cheap & seasonal produce every day for months. Good luck!

  • sal3sal3 Posts: 18

    the flower expert by Dr..D.G Hessayon,and read up to chapter 4 at first this is the best way to learn the basics.The vegatable and herb expert by Dr D G Hessayon.You will find these books an investment.available at w h smith,and used copies and new are sold on amazon.I would not be without these books!

  • I would also like to add my vote for the Dr. Hessayon books. They are really practical and one of the best things about them is that they often use the names that you'll find in your local garden centre or nursery. So you won't be wandering around with a complicated scientific name in your head that many people working in the industry have never heard of!

    Also you can often find old editions in charity shops and bargain book stores. I always buy one if I see a cheap edition of one that is not already in my library.

    Emma. team

  • It would be remiss of me not to recommend Gardeners' World Magazine, as we always include plenty of information on Growing Your Own, and evenb have a free packet of Tomato Maskotka seed coming with the April issue (along with free fragrant sweet peas).

    We're also publishing a 'Grow Your Own' bookazine in March, along with an iPad version, which is looking stunning!

    I agree that David Hessayon's Vegetable Expert book is one I regularly turn to, and usually has the advice (crop spacing, sowing time or depth, etc) that I'm looking for. Some of the seed company web sites also have very good 'at-a-glance' growing guides.

    Was there any specific advice you can't find, Lisa?

  • I'm an enthusiastic novice that's been veg growing with varying success for several years. I went to the local library and tried out various books, I recommend you do this before buying. I've found many gardening books heavy going but have to say Alan Titchmarsh how to garden range are fab and easy to follow.  I have to agree with Adam the GW mag is pretty good too. My Dad gets me a subscription each year for my birthday. I cut out and keep the articles on veg I grow. The main seed sellers have advice on their web pages too. They can be expensive so I shop around but often use their growing instruction's! The web site is pretty good too.

  • <h2>I was givenThe RHS " Encyclopedia of Gardening"as a present, it is a treasure trove and it has answered all my queries. I also have all the main D.G . Hessayon books and would endorse their value to the new gardener, especially "Vegetable and Herb Expert" which really has everything you need to know,  almost at a glance.  Sorry about the Bold cannot get rid of it!</h2>
  • Hi Lisa! I find a subcription to various magazines does the trick!! Timely expert advise n all the tips n tricks from the guys n gal's who have been doing this Gardening lark for years!! Yeah! Me like yourself have been "bitten by the bug" a long drawn out sad story as to how it came about! But hey!! n as Mumjumbo says, Don't get too bogged down in theory at this early stage!  Go get ya hands dirty! Take the basics, n above all else, have fun!!! 

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