Gardening by the book reminds me of patchy history of growing food
The lengthy dry spell we enjoyed up to Easter Monday was most welcome and allowed me to complete all the essential springtime gardening tasks with ease.
The early spuds were earthed up and the seeds for the summer vegetables all germinated with some transplanted out. They promise a wide variety of fresh, healthy food for the summer and autumn. Carrots, leeks, parsnips, turnips and potatoes along with cabbage, kale and purple sprouting broccoli will carry us through winter and also through that "hungry gap" which made our farming ancestors pray for the arrival of summer.
The wonderful polytunnel has continued to prove its worth and has enabled us to get seeds started early and enjoy a wide variety of salads throughout the year. Later in the summer and autumn the beans, peas and other veg, along with fruit such as raspberries will be stored in the deep freeze.
After a hectic few weeks of digging, manuring, sowing and planting the arrival of rain was a blessing and allowed me to take a break and catch up on essential reading.
I firmly believe we never stop learning about the workings of and interaction bet-ween plants and soil and one new book I am currently enjoying is Trevor's Kitchen Garden by Trevor Sargent.
Many farmers were and are very sceptical about the policies of the Green Party of which Trevor was once leader but no one can deny his honesty and commitment to the Grow it Yourself movement.
This is real gardening and not the stuff of trendy land-scape gardeners beloved by TV producers. I found myself ab-sorbed by the content and read it from cover to cover, for it is the ultimate practical guide to feeding oneself economically with home-grown produce.
Week by week, Trevor takes us through seasonal tasks and keeps us amused with a range of fascinating facts relating to the soil, the history of gardening and the seasons. Each chapter is bursting with hints and tips and is the complete book on gardening that teaches us how to feed the family from a relatively small area. Even non-gardeners will enjoy leafing through the pages, for they contain much wisdom and are written almost as an entertaining story.