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Click here for the index page to all the gardening books we have reviewed. These are all honest, independent reviews. We have read each book from cover to cover. Some of them them get the thumbs up, but some definitely don't!

The Book Allotment Month by Month by Alan Buckingham

This is an excellent value for money book at �16.99 (cheaper at some shops). It is extremely well produced with a solid feeling hard cover. It does exactly what the title says listing all the tasks for running an allotment month by month. This is a challenging task for any book and although we note some drawbacks below, we recommend this book highly.

The opening section covers how to select an allotment, how to assess it for weather, site, position and more. Different cultivation methods are discussed to give you some idea how to design the plot.

The next section is a month by month guide to allotment tasks. This is all clearly laid out with lots of high quality pictures. This followed by a largish section which goes into more cultivation details for each specific vegetable, fruit and herb, The final section is a troubleshooting guide including an excellent pest and disease section.

All the vegetables, fruit and herbs are covered in this book and the level of detail is excellent. We tested out the information provided by going into detail on the asparagus section. The planting information is good, with appropriate advice on why buying asparagus crowns is probably better than sowing seed. The cultivation details are excellent both in the month by month section and the asparagus section.

The only minor criticism we have is the way the book has been organised. Firstly, the book assumes that the tasks for each month are the same all over the UK. Only a brief mention is made that the planting and harvest dates in Bournemouth are about six to eight week in advance of the same tasks in Bradford. Even comparing Bournemouth to Birmingham there is a clear 4 week difference in planting dates.

The month by month section is excellent but be prepared for the need to flip through the book to find specific details. For example, the book recommends sowing carrot seed in the April section. You will then need to skip to the carrot section of the book to find out details of sowing depth, distance apart, row spacing and other cultural details.

Here comes a more significant problem. When you look through the vegetable section to find more specific details on carrots, you will see that plants are not arranged in alphabetical order, they are arranged primarily in vegetable type sequence. This makes finding details on a specific vegetable a bit hit and miss. We would suggest that the month by month section could have a page number (of the specific vegetable being mentioned) linking to the vegetable section.

But don't get too hooked on that organisational criticism. This is an excellent book for the allotment holder, both the experienced and the starter. Comprehensive information backed up by informative and well produced photography.

Published By: Dorling Kindersley
First Published: 2009
Author: Alan Buckingham
Title: Allotment Month by Month
ISBN: 978 1 4053 4085 4
Price: �16.99 but is significantly cheaper both online and on the High Street
Pages: 352

Currently this book is available at the indicated prices from: (�11.89) (�13.59)
W H Smith �14.99 (reduced by any seasonal offers)

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