Thursday, January 12, 2012
Xanthe White's Organic Vegetable Gardening book (NZ)
I first saw this book reviewed in Good magazine. I really wanted it but hadn't mentioned it to my husband. He surprised me with it as a gift for my birthday! It must have been featured as a new book on the shelves - but still, how's that for connection?
I am sharing Xanthe White's Organic Vegetable Gardening book (NZ) as I've been using it for a year now - and it really is an awesome book, long term. At first I loved tips such as, if there is a place in your garden, perhaps even in cracks where you are always pulling up weeds, why not use that place to plant something you would like instead, as it obviously is a good place to grow something? Marigolds to discourage pests, the importance of mulching and not leaving soil naked, especially the older your plants get (nature keeps soil covered), not using plastic weed mat (because it would be like wrapping clingwrap over your skin) also come to mind.
Xanthe documented her garden for 1 year (it's a month by month guide), planning and building it at the beginning - 4 square brick raised garden beds with gravel between (discourages snails from walking on it, and creates a clean area to work from). She wanted to have nasturtiums growing along the edges of the paths as her mother did. I still want to put gravel between my raised beds!
There are many great ideas and thoughts about gardening in the book, but also a guide for each vegetable, and guides for various pest control issues and so on. I always refer to it. Just yesterday I discovered the idea of keeping seedlings safe from pests by placing plastic milk or drink bottles with the bottom cut off over them like a mini greenhouse. (Very important, as I have now found.) Also full of lovely rich and earthy gardening photos.