I LOVE this book.
There, I said it. And why do I love this book? Well, there are many reasons but perhaps the biggie is that I’ve been waiting for this book. A loooong time. That’s right. I’ve been pining for something exactly like this… something that not only sends you gushing to the nursery and rushing to the dirt patch, but that has you shushing the family for some serious read time.
Oh – and it’s amazing to look at, too. Not just due to the cute boys on the front cover (blushing) but the incredible photography and scrumptious book design. It’s just Love Love Love.
Fabian Capomolla and Mat Pember, experienced installers of edible gardens, are seriously in love mode, too. Their adoration for objects of the flora variety is inspiring, and it really shows in this gorgeous new book. Essentially dedicated to growing food in small spaces, The Little Veggie Patch Co covers everything edible, from artichokes to zucchini – and an A-Z line-up makes finding your delicacy of choice as quick and easy as a snow-pea blanching.
The layout for each edible plant is layman-easy yet hardly dumbed-down, making it perfect for both the beginner or the advanced gardening addict.
Beginning with a delightfully-written and ultra-knowledgeable (and hence, fascinating) rundown of each plant, we’re then treated to an information box containing the botanical name (for quick-reference at the nursery and impressing friends at dinner parties), the family it belongs to, its origin, which species is a favourite of the Little Veggie Patch boys, the plant’s space needs, its companion plants, a main tip on how to grow it (pots, trays, inground), when to plant, soil prep, pH level requirements, positioning and main problems.
But wait – there’s more. The boys then give each plant the feeding and mulching, watering and harvesting rundown – all written in an easy-to-understand format that is succinct and informative without bogging the reader down in literary compost.
In other words, this is just the book you need to dip into when your nails are packed with soil and your back is crying out with that delicious in-the-garden-all-day ache, and the last thing you want to do is wade through a pretentious encyclopaedia that either confounds you or fails to answer your questions anyway.
You won’t be asking too many more questions with this book as your companion. Everything upon everything is here. At first I felt a little let down that each plant entry didn’t have more detailed information on pest control, but the boys came through – this vital information is actually found in its own section at the end of the book, along with treating diseases and organic solutions.
Also included in the book are notes on climatic zones, designing your veggie patch – the location, size, aesthetics. There are notes on raised beds, trellising and espaliering, watering, pollination and predators. You will be informed on crop rotation and companion planting, deciding when to plant, going organic, types of soil, nutrition, pH levels, the variety of fertilisers, their pros, cons and how to use… is your organic heart beating faster?
It doesn’t stop there.
Want to learn how to test your own pH levels? Like to build your own raised garden bed? Dream of a no-dig garden or want to install a drip irrigation system? What about propagating peas, saving your seeds (home-made tomato seeds – brilliant!), composting, worm farming, growing citrus trees… have you left your computer and dashed to your local bookstore yet?
This is seriously, one-stop gardening and a dream book for anyone who holds even a pea-straw-shred of interest in gardening or growing their own food at home. Warm, delicious, and a delight to read, The Little Veggie Patch Co is absolutely beautiful to look at – packed with colourful, dynamic photos including many how-to pics.
Forget gunning for a green thumb, you’ll soon have 10 green digits with this totally edible book.