greentapestry : Too Much Information

Monday, 6 February 2012

Too Much Information

Help!!! My brain is creaking after spending a weekend looking through catalogues and books working out what to grow at the allotment this year. When I got my plot some six years ago now, there was a dearth of books related to allotment and vegetable growing. A dear friend sent me a copy of Caroline Foley's 'Handbook of Allotment Planning' to celebrate my good news when I told her that I had got my plot. For some time this was the only reading matter that I had on the subject, not for lack of interest on my behalf but just because there seemed to be so little out there. However this situation has changed and my bookshelves are now creaking under the strain with allotment and vegetable growing titles. Over the last two or three years these titles have mushroomed beyond belief.

Now such riches are all well and good but you can have too much of a good thing. When it comes to information about which variety of what to grow, when to sow, planting distances between crops etc. there are so many conflicting opinions from the experts that I am sometimes completely bamboozled. I do have a staple though which I return to regularly which is Joy Larkcom's 'Grow Your Own Vegetables'. This is the only book which I have ever considered getting a second copy of, as it has now become so dirty through using it at the allotment, I've come to the conclusion that I need a clean duplicate at home. The only illustrations in the book are black and white line drawings but this is immaterial. There are nearly 400 pages jam packed with practical advice and information on growing vegetables. If I was ever to have a rush of blood to the head and just keep one book this would be it. I don't think that this is likely to happen though so I will carry on reading and inwardly digesting, comparing cultivation methods and crop preferences, looking at enchanting photos of perfect plots and going round and round in circle of confusion.

This neck of the woods was not graced by any of the white stuff this weekend but instead we had a mixture of sleet and freezing rain so that the garden was decorated with garlands of icicles. Perfect weather for armchair gardening but not so benign for feathered friends despite a well stocked feeding station. I was glad to be inside looking out.


  1. I have the same Joy Larkcom book and agree that it's a keeper. The snow here is lingering, though it's a lovely warm day today, I hope it melts away soon.

  2. I know what you mean, Anna about conflicting information. What I'm learning is that there often isn't a right or wrong way of doing things and you need to find a way that works best for you. Although it is frustrating to read one book which says one thing and then another which says something else. I haven't read Joy Larckom's book yet. I like Charles Dowding's books for good advice.

  3. I have Joy Larkcoms book which I come back to again and again as well as Allotments for Dummies which is also very good

    I also have a pile of books which I wouldnt ever buy again on allotments and I have only had mine a year

  4. It's amazing how tough our little feathered friends are. And cute! :)

  5. Wonderful photo!!

    Having currently a sloping garden with very thin soil, and no allotment, I enjoy reading books about vegetable growing with a kind of 'one day!' dream feeling.

  6. I know what you mean about gardening books giving conflicting info, I got so confused and few weeks ago when I was reading about growing the humble tomato! But, on the other hand I do like looking through gardening books and don't think I'll ever stop buying them, I just need to be a little more selective and not buy too many of the same type.

  7. I have Joy Larkcom's Creative Vegetable Gardening and had resisted Grow Your Own Veg as my bookshelf, like yours, is groaning under the weight of gardening books. However, after various glowing comments about this book - and a quick look on Amazon - I fear it's about to become another of my bedside books!

  8. Anna, what a lovely picture .... you had a lot more ice than us!
    I am a big fan of Joy Larcom's grow your own vegetables, but as you say there are so many books out there now - and they all say something different.

    Here Shedman has now taken over the veg plot, which gives me more time but I miss the picking and choosing of what to grow this year!

  9. I think we all have one or two books that we always come back to despite internet shopping and a publishing explosion of lifestyle titles that lead to groaning shelves, I know!

  10. Superb shot Anna - if I did not know what bird it is would have said it has turned blue with cold.
    My only advice for TMI is to discard all the books and do it all by the seat of your pants as it were! Expertitis is a terrible dis-ease sometimes!

  11. I know exactly what you mean - when I got my plot last year I had three books, but add in advice on blogs and forums, and I was frequently confused, hence the many experiments. Well, it being year one, everything was an experiment! I enjoy reading good gardening books, but there comes a point when I just have to put them down and try something. Of course now I am tempted to get the Joy Larckom book...


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.