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Minding My Peas and Cucumbers: Quirky Tales of Allotment Life

Minding my Peas and Cucumbers

Minding my Peas and Cucumbers

I’ve often wondered what it’s actually like to have an allotment. Is it social and companionable? Competitive or relaxed? I suppose that every allotment site, like all disparate communities, has their own individual characteristics and quirks.

So I was delighted to receive a copy of Minding My Peas and Cucumbers: Quirky Tales of Allotment Life  by Kay Sexton. This brilliant book opens the lid on the allotmenteering experience. Tempting recipes and valuable tips are thrown into the mix – providing a more down to earth chorus to balance the Prima Donnas and colourful characters that ramble through the pages of this book.

At times it reads like a novel, with twisting plots and characters to intrigue and captivate the reader. On the other hand Kay Sexton is superbly practical. She suggests carrying a torch and a whistle just in case you step on a rusty nail and can’t hobble out of a vast allotment site at dust. She mentions the poor woman who was locked in her shed by her husband at the end of the day. He was listening to his iPod and failed to hear her cries.

The tone is conversational. It’s beautifully written and the characters are so well drawn that I read this book twice. A first for me!

Her equipment lists are good. There are sections that cover the growers that like to take summer holidays and still want to harvest when they return. I was particularly interested in the section “Asparagus Production the Sexton Way”. She has made five asparagus beds in twelve years with good results. When I think of the shoe strings standing limply in our asparagus bed (year two) I hang my head in shame and want to reach for the vodka bottle immediately.

Kay worked on allotments for 19 years as a co-worker before she finally got her own plot. A spirited journey that brings loads of experience and memorable tales to this book. Minding My Peas and Cucumbers is the perfect present for allotment holding readers and wannabe allotment holders alike.

This is not a step by step allotment guide – there are plenty of good down to earth books that cover that. Rather it’s a celebration of allotment life. Since reading Minding My Peas and Cucumbers: Quirky Tales of Allotment Life I often think of Kay and the characters portrayed in this fabulous book. It would make a great movie or TV series – scriptwriters/film makers tune up your antenna.

This tale is a winner and a must buy for edible growers everywhere.

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  1. I had an allotment in London, and it was a wonderful experience, not just for the food, but for the companionship and the huge amount of knowledge on hand for a novice like me. It was a proper little community. One of my allotment neighbours loaned me a book called Digger’s Diary, and I’d definitely recommend that to anyone interested in growing veg, allotment or not. A great read

  2. Sissi

    I am sure I would enjoy this book greatly, but since I live in the city centre and have no chance of allotment, it would make me very sad at the same time…
    Your description makes me think of an American book “The Egg and I” written by Betty Macdonald (published in 1945 I think). It was the first part of her autobiography. She described there her adventures with a crazy husband who moved to the country and decided to rear chickens… Excellent read.

  3. I am reading this book too – and enjoying it.

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