Books & Films

Recommended reading and viewing for allotmenteers from allotmenteers

Grow Your Soil!

Harness the Power of the Soil Food Web to Create Your Best Garden Ever

by Diane Miessler


Growing awareness of the importance of soil health means that microbes are on the minds of even the most casual gardeners. After all, anyone who has ever attempted to plant a thriving patch of flowers or vegetables knows that what you grow is only as good as the soil you grow it in. It is possible to create and maintain rich, dark, crumbly soil that’s teeming with life, using very few inputs and a no-till, no-fertilizer approach. Certified permaculture designer and lifelong gardener Diane Miessler presents the science of soil health in an engaging, entertaining voice geared for the backyard grower. She shares the techniques she has used — including cover crops, constant mulching, and a simple-but-supercharged recipe for compost tea — to transform her own landscape from a roadside dump for broken asphalt to a garden that stops traffic, starting from the ground up.

Recommended by Peter Maughan, Plot 37

Kiss the Ground


Narrated by Woody Harrelson.

Directed by Joshua/Rebecca Tickell.

Documentary recommended by Daniel Archer (plot 74)

This is a documentary about the ​soil we stand on, or as they put it the dirt beneath our feet. I have watched a lot of documentary this Year, and the one that stood out the most for me was Kiss the Ground. It focuses on the the soil beneath our feet and what we as individuals can do all around the World to help protect it. I watched it on Netflix, I highly recommend watching this documentary to all of us on the Allotment and your friends.

The Vegetable Garden Displayed

by Joy Larkcom (RHS)

first published in 1941 as part of the Dig for Victory campaign then completely revised and updated in 1992.

The go-to book for secretary of the committee, Jill Kaye (plot 20a).

Jill says:

"Being of its time, it does still advocate annual digging with no mention of no-dig methods, and covers inorganic as well as organic approaches. But overall I find the advice still very relevant to modern ways of growing, with for example recommendations for closer spacings in beds, and the use of crop covers to protect plants. The first half covers all the practical aspects of growing and the second half covers all the main vegetables alphabetically, so it is easy to navigate. It is clearly written and presented with just the right amount of explanation for why to do certain tasks as well as how. "