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Six books for gardening beginners

By Features Reporter

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Grow Food For Free by Huw Richards. Picture: Dorling Kindersley/PA
Grow Food For Free by Huw Richards. Picture: Dorling Kindersley/PA

Keen to grow your own fruit and veg? These gardening books should help you get started.

The garden can be a bewildering place if the last thing you grew from seed was a straggly tray of cress on a bed of cotton wool, back in primary school.

Starting again from scratch may mean you don't have the kit and don't really know a seedling from a sapling or a weed from something edible.

And what if you don't even have a garden? What if you're limited to a blank square of concrete balcony, or a skinny kitchen windowsill?

Of course, you could just ask the internet all these questions – but have you ever tried unlocking your phone in the glare of the sun, while wearing compost covered gardening gloves? It's really not that easy.

So instead, pore over one of these illuminating veg guides, and may your patch of green be forever more filled with slug-free courgettes and hot pink radishes...

1. Grow Food For Free by Huw Richards (£16.99, DK)

Bargain hunters will appreciate this thrifty book. Organic veg champion and former child YouTuber Huw Richards explains how to build up your stash of gardening equipment through bartering, borrowing and making do. He's got nifty tips on propagating and taking cuttings to create brand new, totally free plants, and still gets you up to speed with the basics of fruit and veg growing.

Grow & Cook by Mark Diacono. Picture: Headline Home/PA
Grow & Cook by Mark Diacono. Picture: Headline Home/PA

2. Grow & Cook by Mark Diacono (£10.99, Headline Home)

This handy paperback is colour and picture-free, but author Mark Diacono – who's a food writer, farmer and cook as well as a River Cottage alumna – has a straightforward style that's easy to follow. He talks you through more than 180 varieties of fruit and veg – from when to start them off, to how to space them, and when to start picking and eating them – and mixes familiar staples like squash, chilli peppers and blackcurrants, with the much more exotic like pineapple guava and boysenberries.

3. How To Grow Stuff by Alice Vincent (£12.99, Ebury Press)

If you consume most of your greenery content via Instagram – think architecturally magnificent cheese plants splayed against white walls and ferns suspended in macrame hangers – you'll appreciate How To Grow by Alice Vincent (find her at @noughticulture). Ideal for urban gardeners with little space to play with, it offers a crash course in nurturing herbs, salad leaves, tomatoes, chillies and courgettes as well as a few flowers for your window boxes.

The Ten-Minute Gardener by Val Bourne. Picture: Bantam Press/PA.
The Ten-Minute Gardener by Val Bourne. Picture: Bantam Press/PA.

4. The Ten-Minute Gardener by Val Bourne (£9.99, Bantam Press)

Author Val Bourne - writer, lecturer and organic gardener – provides inspiration for those just starting out and helps those with much too busy lives, but hardy green fingers, to maximise every moment they have to plough into their fruit and veg, without becoming overwhelmed by all there is to get done.

5. Veg In One Bed by Huw Richards (£14.99, DK)

Keen to 'grow an abundance of food in one raised bed'? You're not alone. This manual from Huw Richards is a massive bestseller. Learn what plants should fill what gaps when, and how to cycle through different veggies as the seasons progress, so you stay consistently well fed throughout.

6. RHS Step-by-Step Veg Patch: A Foolproof Guide To Every Stage Of Growing Fruit And Veg by Lucy Chamberlain (£16.99, DK)

If there's one thing a newbie veg grower needs to know, it's that the RHS is about to become your most trusted resource. This newly updated version of a step-by-step classic guide will have you turning tiny seeds into carrots, onions and aubergines in no time.

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