Double Book Review: “Growing Perfect Vegetables” & “The Salad Garden”

This week I have had my head in the books as I have two new books to review for you! So I better crack on and tell you about them:

Square Foot Gardening: “Growing Perfect Vegetables”

Square Foot Gardening

Square Foot Gardening (commonly referred to as SFG) is a planting method that was developed by American author and TV presenter Mel Bartholomew in the 1970s. It’s a simple way to create easy-to-manage gardens with raised beds that need a minimum of time spent maintaining them. This book is a very visual guide to raising and harvesting vegetables at their optimum. I loved this book as it was really easy to read and is packed full of lovely inspiring photographs. It takes you through examples of what to grow in your SFG, how to know when they are ripe and an easy to read table telling you when to sow your veg and when they will be ready to eat. There are also some tips at the back about growing other vegetables which don’t strictly work in a SFG such as perennial fruits. The SFG theory is a great way of getting into growing veg as it only takes up a small space, it’s easy to manage and, crucially, easy to see when things are ripe and ready to use. This book tells you all you need to get you started on the road to becoming your own wee allotment expert. My star rating is:


Available now in paperback, RRP £11.99

“The Salad Garden” by Joy Larkcom

Salad Garden

When “The Salad Garden” was first published in 1984, it was held in high esteem by gardeners, chefs and even professional growers. It has now been updated and released to suit the modern market. Consideration has been given to being able to garden in smaller spaces like on patios, window boxes (or a square foot garden!), new varieties of salads are included and the recipes have been given a modern twist too. It’s not just salad leaves that are covered in this book, there are peas, tomatoes, fennel, flowers, root vegetables and much more. I think this book suits a more serious garden who wants to learn a lot more about a wide range of salad. There is a lot of great information about how to grow each vegetable and recommended varieties. It’s just a little less colourful and user friendly than the SFG book but has a LOT of useful information packed into it. My star rating is:


Available now in paperback, RRP £16.99

Happy reading (and growing!)

Lulu xx

Raising Expectations…

At Vialii we design a LOT of raised beds. They are popular with clients for many reasons – they are great for older clients who can’t bend down to the ground easily; kids love growing veg in them; they can look great with in-built seating around patios; they can make it possible to grow plants where soil/drainage is problematic. Here are some of the most popular raised beds we put into our clients’ gardens…

The Horizontal Sleeper

This is the most common raised bed you will see in gardens, particularly for those wanting to grow their own vegetables. They are very practical as they make it easy to tend your veg and you can perch on the edge while you are gardening. The chunky timbers mean that they will last for years although we recommend giving them a quick stain every year to extend their life.

Our client's productive garden

Our client’s productive garden

The Vertical Sleeper

This is a simple but effective twist on the traditional horizontal sleeper raised bed. By using the timber sleepers vertically we can make the raised beds a curving shape, softening the look.

We designed & built these lovely curving raised beds

We designed & built these lovely curving raised beds

The Combination Sleeper

Another great way of creating a sleeper raised bed is to use a combination of both horizontal and vertical timbers to create a unique yet practical raised bed for your garden.

Using a combination of horizontal & vertical sleepers can be effective

Using a combination of horizontal & vertical sleepers can be effective

The Sandstone Trough

Natural sandstone is a beautiful product and our most popular choice when it comes to patios and paving. It can also be used to create stunning raised beds around your patio adding height and interest to your garden. By adding fragrant planting you will want to sit here all day!

Beautiful sandstone creates a more rustic raised bed

Beautiful sandstone creates a more rustic raised bed

The Rendered Trough

Rendering your raised creates a cleaner, more contemporary look to your garden. What we love most about this finish is how easy it is to change the look of your garden by changing the colour of your paint. A quick and easy transformation whenever you like!

Adding colour to your rendered raised bed can change the feel of your garden

Adding colour to your rendered raised bed can change the feel of your garden

Hardwood & Render

By adding a hardwood top and leaving planting pockets in a rendered raised bed you can create a wonderfully contemporary planter with practical seating for all the year round.

Stunning hardwood creates the perfect finish to these rendered raised beds

Stunning hardwood creates the perfect finish to these rendered raised beds

If you want to add some raised beds to your own garden please get in touch to arrange a free consultation.

All at Vialii

Our 9 Favourite Ways To Slay The Slug!

We love our garden but sadly slugs do too! This year we have LOADS of slugs and snails in the garden. Our latest blog gives you some tips on how to deal with them.

With a little help from your friends

One of the most effective ways to help deal with the slugs in your garden is to encourage wildlife that likes to have a munch on some slugs. Invite hedgehogs, blackbirds, toads, newts and songthrush along for a slap up meal!

Hedgehogs are a great help

Hedgehogs are a great help


Slugs are a bit like vampires and hate the smell & taste of garlic. Leave a barrier of chopped up garlic around the vegetables that slugs like to munch on. For non edible plants like hostas you can spray them with a home made garlic spray to keep them safe.

Egg Shells

This is a common one but did you know you can bake the shells in the oven for 20 minutes to make them more effective. Mix them with your garlic pieces for the ultimate protection!

Wool Pellets

We have had unreliable results with wool pellets so definitely combine them with something else like the garlic or the slugs will put up with the uncomfortable journey for a munch on your prized courgette!


This is effective when applied liberally around a pot. For plants in the ground you can use an old plastic pot with the bottom cut off, place over your plant and push well into the ground and then cover in vaseline.

Copper tape

This can be pricey if you have lots of pots but it is an effective way of keeping slugs at bay. They get an electric shock when their slimy bodies crawl over the tape.

Beer traps

Sink a pot into the ground and fill with some of your big person’s beer. Slugs will be attracted and fall into the beer trap. Empty and refill every few days. Always ask a grown up to help!

Beer trap

Slugs love a beer too!


In spring, water in these microscopic parasites into the soil. They will kill your slugs and keep the numbers down for the rest of the year.

Slug hunting

Our favourite way is to get a tub and go slug hunting with all our friends!

We never recommend using slug pellets as they can really harmful to pets, children and the environment.

Good luck!

Lulu & Tilda xx