26 July 2011

The gardening books I live by

I'm really pleased that vegetable gardening has become popular again because my optimism for the future grows when I think of it. I often receive emails from readers who ask me to recommend a good all-round gardening book. That's difficult to do because we all come from different climates and there are a variety of ways to garden and levels of experience. I am an organic gardener and have been for about 30 years. We had a vegetable patch and chooks in our last home, and when we moved here in 1997, I wanted to keep the vegetables growing and maybe expand a little. I was lucky, just before we moved, in 1996, Linda Woodrow produced her very influential book, The Permaculture Home Garden. I had already toyed with the idea of permaculture, bought Introduction to Permaculture and later The Permaculture Designer's Manual by Bill Molleson but they didn't grab me. Interesting yes, but not enough to get me to think more about a Permaculture garden. Then I picked up Linda's book.

I was hooked ... from the first sentence of her perfect introduction: This is a book about saving the planet and living to be one hundred, while throwing very impressive dinner parties and organising other creatures to do most of the work. How could anyone resist that!

The cover has changed but it's still a great book. I looked, and Linda's book is available on Amazon and at Fishpond.

From the time I bought Linda's book in early 1997, right up until we moved in November of that year, I read her words over and over again. By the time we'd arrived here I was ready. I can't say I do everything recommended in the book and we don't have a permaculture garden, but I am what I would call Lindaesque. Linda Woodrow's book is at the heart of my gardening philosophy. When I want to do something new, even now, I go to this book and see what Linda has to say about it. I know now that I liked this book from the beginning because it connects the vegetable garden to real life. It makes sense of food production in an ordinary backyard, and without being rigid and pedantic, it sets out a clear pathway. I love this book not only for it's pathway but also because it motivated me in a way no other gardening book ever did.  Linda's blog: http://witcheskitchen.com.au/

Linda reads here now and she doesn't know how highly I regard her book, or her, so I hope it's a pleasant surprise. Congratulations on being in print for 15 years, Linda. That is a rare achievement.

The other book I would recommend, should you ask, is Lyn Bagnall's Easy Organic Gardening and Moon Planting. This book taught me things I didn't know about plants and is full of the knowledge of a very experienced organic vegetable farmer. This book is about the organic production of vegetables, fruit and herbs, and if you plant by the moon, there is a planting guide up till 2013. There is no better book for the whys and wherefores of organic gardening.  Lyn sent me a signed copy of her book when it was published and I treasure it. She has the most helpful blog: http://aussieorganicgardening.com/ where she shares her vast knowledge with all who go there. If you want to buy Lyn's book, you can do that from her blog.

BTW, neither Linda nor Lyn know I'm blogging about this today. Neither of them asked me to promote their book, nor did their publishers.

So that's it, short and sweet. I have a lot of cook books but I only have two gardening books. I guess that says it all.

Blogger Template by pipdig