Grow Your Own Magazine

review by Melanie Matthews

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Grow Your Own Magazine' page

OK this one is technically not a book, but it is reading matter, so I reckon it counts!  Grow Your Own Magazine is a gardening magazine ideal for Allotment Holders and anyone who grows their own fruit and veg. Its comes out monthly and (unlike this e-news) comes out in advance of the month featured - so the September issue came out last week.  

Regular features include Ann Swithinbanks's guide to what to do for the month as well as Allotment News, Plot Essentials, Container gardening with Alys Fowler, Seasonal chef, Ask the Experts, Jekka's monthly herb guide, Chicken check-up, Fruit gardener, Wildlife facts, an organic feature and much more.  Every month there are some great items to win, as well as special offers in the GYO shop.  In September's edition includes sections on 10 ultimate chillies to grow, selling your produce, foraging for hedgerow fruits, sowing cut flowers, storing and preserving your harvest and a visit to Raymond Blanc's kitchen garden.

The good - You get a great free gift when you subscribe, and you can subscribe for a minimum of 6 issues. There's a different free subscription gift each month - so if you want to get the best out of it, keep checking what the offer is until you see one you like!  I got a box of free plug plants with my subs, and the July offer was the fabulous Allotment Source Book by Caroline Foley. I have only been receiving the magazine for 3 months and I look forward to it popping through the letterbox. Great breakfast table reading, you can dip in and out of it.  They have some serious experts on their writing team, and its interesting to read about other allotment sites and how they work.  

The bad -  I find the articles good reading, but some of them (not all of them) do suffer from a bit of writer's filler. It't not that you won't find anything useful but they do occasionally have a habit of making advice that could be said in three lines fill half a page.

The ugly - As with any magazine - the reason they keep it cheap and manage to put out great subscriber offers - the advertising!  Nothing you wouldn't be used to if you are a regular magazine reader but as someone who isn't I found it all a bit annoying. 

In summary - stick with the expert advice and don't take too much notice of the product promotions and its worth a 6 month subscription because the free gift will probably cover your outlay. Grow Your Own Magazine is available to subscribe at http://www.growfruitandveg.co.uk - and once again (like our "we don't take paid advertising" feature) - you can trust what I say cos nobody pays me to say it!

This page was added by Melanie Matthews on 02/09/2011.