Book review: Build a better vegetable garden.

There’s still snow on the ground here, although there have been sightings in the area of crocus foliage (not in my garden, sadly – although I’ve been going out every morning to take a look, just in case something’s changed overnight.  Nope, just snow). It doesn’t matter. I’ve already ordered some seeds and I’ve got the veggie garden all mapped out (Version 8.0 or thereabouts – we all know I’ll be revising until the very day I plant, especially if the seed catalogues keep coming!).


And I’ve been looking at a few new books. I was sent a copy of Joyce and Ben Russell’s Build a Better Vegetable Garden: 30 DIY Projects to Improve Your Harvest (2017, Frances Lincoln Limited/Quarto, London) for review and it hasn’t left my desk…I keep picking it up and browsing through it.  Whether you’re an experienced gardener or a newbie, there are projects in here that can get you growing in no time: setting up a raised hoop tunnel, designing and constructing a raised bed, building your own wooden planters, creating a cold frame, or making a trellis for climbing beans.  Other projects you may not have immediately thought of include making your own seed trays (and dibber!), a storage rack for your tools, a wire support for raspberries, a handy trug, a cabinet with trays for drying the harvest, and a beautiful decorative obelisk.  The best part about this book is you don’t need to be a certified woodworker or carpenter to do any of these projects.  You don’t need specialized tools (most can be done with a basic drill, a couple of types of saws, some hand tools and hardware you can easily pick up and afford).  Nearly all of the projects are made from wood.  And the instructions are straightforward, easy to understand, and very clearly photographed so you’re not guessing at any stage of the project.  I am the least crafty person I know, and I have confidence I could undertake most of these projects without making a huge mess of them (or losing a limb in the process). 😉  I really think this book would be a fantastic gift for a new gardener or homeowner – and it would be extremely useful for anyone setting up a community garden or allotment as well.  Highly recommended (and that’s my honest opinion!).

Do you have any recommendations for gardening books that have you feeling excited and inspired as you plan (or dig in) for the new season?  Tell me what you’ve been poring over, I’d love to hear! 


  1. Sounds like it might be for me Sheryl. I am hopeless at making things, although having said that I did put two bedside cabinets together this week. (Just don’t ask how long it took me and why I have a bruise on my thumb… 😉 ) I like the idea of making things for my garden though. 🙂

    • I hope the bruise has healed! 🙂 I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who doesn’t have an easy time of construction projects. The book has some fantastic ideas and it seems to be pretty straightforward as far as the instructions go…seems promising!

  2. J > Hmmm. After more than 40 yrs of gardening, not least vegetables and fruit, D and are sceptical that books and building do much in the way of improving the gardening. Certainly not the economics of kitchen gardening! But if we can’t learn it from friends and neighbours, then that’s when we’re glad to pull from the shelves the old favourites and a real delight in books that bring us fresh ideas. I’ be just today bought an equivalent to this book for small agricultural buildings/shelters!

  3. Hi Sheryl; this sounds like just the book to get people started in the garden, one project at a time. I will look forward to some photos and posts as you work your way through the book!

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