I’m a relative newbie to gardening, having only grown bits and bobs in the past, so when I embarked on my new hobby I was seduced by the book section of the garden center. I love a nice book, the kind with fabulous photography and easy to read. I have hundreds of books about fashion designers, fashion from the 1940’s and the history of fashion and bras in particular – I must point out my day job is in the lingerie industry. And then there are my cooking books, the photography especially exciting in these because – well FOOD! But I never thought I would get that same giddy feeling from gardening books. As I am such a rookie, once I had bought all my plants and seeds and such, I thought well I should probably learn how to actually look after them properly. After all I want my fruit and veg plants to thrive and grow into happy and healthy plants bearing lots of fruit. One of the first books I bought is ‘Grow All You Can Eat In 3 Square Feet’ and I just had to share with you how fabulous it is for complete novices.
I was attracted to this book as I have to grow my food in a relatively small space. Living at home with my parents, I can’t dig up their garden to have a nice allotment sized space to grow food. Instead I have to restrict my growing to lots of different sized pots and grow bags. There are sections on ‘Small-Space Projects’, which shows you how to utalise everyday objects to create attractive and creative planters, as well as ‘Crops in Small Plots’, lots of different planting plans for the 3′ x 3′ raised bed.
Firstly though the book takes you through everything you need to know about starting your own veggie patch. Everything from understanding light, how to prepare your soil, companion planting and thinking about where your plot is situated in regards to exposure etc, to actually telling you which plants would be most suitable for you life style – ie shallow rooted crops or easy care crops. The book really breaks the process down to inform the newbie gardener on how to set up their plot. Perfect for someone like me who knows nothing!
My absolute favourite feature of the book however, is how to get the most from your small space. As a beginner, one assumes that most plants are harvested in the early Autumn – after all we are taught this at a young age as we celebrate ‘Harvest Festival’. It’s one of those smack your head on the table moments when you realise, ‘oh yeah of course there have to be plants that grow through the Autumn/Winter as how else would people have eaten in the olden days!’. Yes people, you can cultivate your small 3 x 3 plot to provide a continual crop of food all year round. You just need to know which plants they are.
There are 6 of these yer round plans for the 3 x 3 plot and a Spring/Summer to Autumn/Winter plan based on 9 containers of different crops. So this book comprehensively covers almost any situation a person with a small plot or balcony or whatever the growers circumstances may be. For example, crops for a Shady Bed, so that would be good for perhaps someone who lives in an urban environment with houses and fences surrounding them as they will not have sunshine on their garden plot all day long. Another example, The easy-to-grow bed, perfect for people with busy lives who perhaps don’t have much time to dedicate to tending to their plants.
The plans are quite particular in the crops that they grow. With such a small space to grow in they have thought very carefully about which plants grow well together and don’t infringe on each others space. The even tell you how many of each plant to put in the plot. But another great feature is that they also give you ideas on crops you can swap with, in case you don’t like a particular veg. So not only do they give you a great plot plan, they make it possible for the slightly more adventurous to go ‘off plan’ and create your own veggie garden plan that will work for you and your space.
I really couldn’t recommend this book highly enough for the novice veggie gardener. If you are like me and know next to nothing about gardening, then buy this book. You won’t be disappointed!
Until next time, happy gardening!