On this page, I will add, from time to time, various resources that I have found useful.


Today one can probably find all of the information one needs online. However, I am very fond of a well written book, and am happy to recommend some of my favourites.

Growing guides

There are many books on growing fruit and vegetables that give a good overview of the main crops and methods of cultivation. They tend to offer similar content, and when you have a few of them, it is difficult to find new books that make a worthwhile addition. I have gathered quite a few of them, but recommend just a few that would make good overall guides. Some books treat the entire kitchen garden, whilst others treat fruit and vegetables in separate texts. Many modern guides to growing fruit and vegetables are based on organic methods, or at least include details of organic approaches. With others, the organic gardener can simply ignore advice pertaining to synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.

The ‘Expert’ series of books are best sellers, and still offer a good, if not the most attractive, guide; to my mind, they look a little dated, and I am not always convinced with the selection of varieties described. Of particular note, though, is the inclusion of indicative yields, information not generally provided, but of great importance in drawing up planting schemes and crop rotations. Richard Bird’s book seems to have appeared in several different guises. My own copy is no longer in print, so I have provided details for a more recent imprint; as far as I can tell, the content is identical. One of my favourites is Organic Kitchen Garden, based on the walled kitchen garden at Audley End, Essex. This is not only an interesting read, but also contains a great deal of practical advice. I included Harry Dodson’s book largely because of its connection with the Victorian Kitchen Garden series, of which I was, and still am, a huge fan. It is out of print now, but, like my own copy, can be obtained second hand. It is still a good guide to growing fruit and vegetables.

  • The Fruit Expert. D G Hessayon. Transworld, 2007, ISBN 978-0-903-50531-4.
  • The Vegetable and Herb Expert. D G Hessayon. Transworld, 2007, ISBN 978-0-903-50546-8.
  • The Kitchen Garden Book: The Complete Practical Guide to Kitchen Gardening, from Planning and Planting to Harvesting and Storing. R Bird. Southwater, 20012, ISBN 978-1-780-19089-1.
  • The Allotment source Book, C Foley. New Holland, 2010, ISBN 978-1-847-73664-2.
  • Organic Kitchen Garden. Juliet Roberts. Conran Octopus, 2009, ISBN 978-1-84091-525-9
  • Practical Kitchen Garden: A Personal Guide to Growing Vegetables and Fruit, H Dodson. BBC Books, 1992, ISBN 0-563-36357-6. 


The general vegetable or fruit guide does not have the space to go into enough detail on certain technical subjects, such as pruning or propagation. Fortunately, these subjects are treated on their own in some very good texts.

  • Training and Pruning, The Royal Horticultural Society. C Brickell and D Joyce. Dorling Kindersley, 2006, ISBN 978-1-4053-1526-5.
  • Propagating Plants, The Royal Horticultural Society. A Toogood. Dorling Kindersley, 2006, ISBN 978-1-4053-1525-8.

Special interest

Whilst I have many books that were bought to offer practical guidance on cultivation, I also have many that I have bought for other reasons. They are not the most useful texts, but I find them of great interest, nonetheless. In particular, Vegetables offers insight into how the diverse varieties of vegetables we can grow today were developed from their wild counterparts, whilst For The Love Of An Orchard, is a simply beautiful book for anyone interested in orchards and the cultivation of traditional orchard fruits. The latter does include some amount of practical guidance.

  • The Elements of Organic Gardening. HRH The Prince of Wales, with S Donaldson. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2008, ISBN 978-0-297-84498-3.
  • Walled Kitchen Gardens. S Campbell. Shire Publications, 2010, ISBN 978-0-74780-657-8.
  • Vegetables. R Phillips and M Rix. Macmillan, 1993, 978-0-333-62640-5.
  • For the Love of An Orchard. J M Hunter and C K. Pavillion Books, 2010, ISBN 978-1-86205-850-7.
  • Album Vilmorin: The Vegetable Garden. Werner Dressendörfer. Taschen, 2012, ISBN 3836535998.


  • The Victorian Kitchen Garden Series, BBC, Acorn Media UK, 2006, DVD.

Seeds and plants