The Chelsea “Flower” Show this year was full of them, the film Grow Your Own celebrated them, Steve Wratten recently showed how to do it on TV and with food costs constantly in the news now is the time to start planting your veges. I am lucky enough to have a full quarter acre garden but most people have far less.
Don’t despair – there are many books devoted to vegetable gardening and small space gardening, from raised beds to containers. The doyenne of them all is probably Square Foot Gardening, Mel Bartholomew’s enthusiastic guide to growing your own pretty much all year round. Being American you do have to reverse the seasons and cope with vegetables like the mysterious “summer squash” which I finally realised was courgettes. Marcus Schenke’s Gardening in small spaces on a simlar theme is also excellent, and a new Australian title One Magic Square converts the foot to a sqare metre. Diana Anthony’s The small edible garden provides a New Zealand slant.
Overseas vegetable books ofen wax enthusiastic about New Zealand spinach, but how often have you seen it in a NZ garden? I tried it once and it took over and was not particularly nice, which brings me to the golden rule of growing vegetables – grow what you like to eat. No point in having an abundance of beetroot if the family won’t eat them.