By Meredith Kirton
A book review by Franz Scheurer
Growing your edible plants is extremely satisfying. Being able to walk into your garden, be that a suburban garden, a small city courtyard or a much larger country garden, pick your own fruit, vegetables or herbs is eminently rewarding. Not only is it the freshest produce you can possibly obtain, you also know the provenance with absolute certainty.
Meredith Kirton has show off her green thumbs for more than two decades in newspapers, magazines and on TV and not only does she know her craft but she manages to part with her knowledge in such a way that it is easy to follow and understand. She teaches you all the basics, from climate, soil and preparation to pests, diseases, crop rotations and even organic gardening. You learn what you really want to know, how to plant and grow a huge range of edibles that include old favourites, heirloom varieties and exotics. Suddenly the magic becomes approachable!
The book is divided into The kitchen garden, Fruit, Vegetables, Herbs and an index that actually works. Each of the above sections are subdivided and it’s remarkably easy to find your way around. For instance, I love a little known herb called Lovage. It took me all of 10 seconds to find it and gain the knowledge, when, where and how to plant it and what I could expect. Fascinating...
Make no mistake, growing your own produce is hard work and the quality and quantity will depend on the effort you put into it, but as Meredith Kirton says: “It’s much easier to grow carrots than to keep a goat!”
This book is full of superb photography and covers everything I can think of and acts as an invaluable guide to the avid gardener and home cook who likes to grow his or her own stuff. You can look up specifics and deal with a particular plant or learn how to successfully start from scratch. I suggest you read the chapter ‘The basics’ a couple of times and learn what might be obvious to the more advanced gardener. Armed with this book, a touch of patience, some hard work you’ll no doubt end up eating your own produce with a big grin on your face.
harvest by Meredith Kirtion
A complete Australian guide to the edible garden
Published by Murdoch Books
Available in book stores throughout Australia as of September 2009
RRP $ 69.95