Book review: Window-box Allotment

Window-box Allotment

A beginner’s guide to container gardening

by Penelope Bennett
This book is a little gem. Penelope Bennett writes with great excitement and love about growing fuit and veg from seed on her tiny roof garden. It’s difficult not to be swept along by her boundless enthusiasm. The story of her germinating parsley or tomato seeds reads like a roller coaster ride. One moment she is rushing home from a party to whisk them in from the window ledge, another racing ‘at ambulance speed’ to water them as she sees they are drooping slightly.

This book is a must read for anyone who considers themselves restricted space-wise. Bennett will dissuage any fears about not having room to do any ‘proper gardening.’ In her own 5 x 2.5 meter ‘plot’, she has grown an enormous variety of fruit and vegetables. She even finds space for a pond, compost heap, wormery, antery and mushroom cultivation.

The sections on wormeries are unsurpassed in any other book I have found. She goes into great detail about the lives (and sex lives) of the worms, and suggests that everyone should have access to one. There is even a description of a ‘desktop wormery’.

Re-reading the book now as a proud owner of a wormery, I share her pain and shame as she recounts various wormery disasters. She has cremated her worms by putting them in the greenhouse, and poisoned them by giving them cat food as a ‘treat’.

There are sections entitled ‘whether or not to talk to plants’, ‘pond confession’ and ‘bean diary’. The author’s humour and love of her subject matter makes the whole book all the more of a joy to read.

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