October 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm #255900
Ok at work this week I realized how much I do actually know about gardening.
To start the story one of my work colleagues lives on 10 acres in the hills, owns an organic coffee shop, and is into fruit and veggie gardening, so we often exchange the “are your blackberries flowering yet” “how are your avacados going” “is it just a really bad year for…..” etc
While having a conversation about peastraw another colleague (young, well educated, but very naive in terms of the real world) came into the conversation, stating that nothing grows where she is because the soil is “really bad”, both of our responses to that was horse poo. This was met with a rather blank look. “Yep horse poo, dig it in”. Then came up the subject of “Blood and Bone”, another blank look and “what do you mean blood and bone” “just that it is blood and bone, all dried and ground up to a powder, fantastic for plants” “but where does the blood and bone come from?” well that got us on to the true blood and bone, and how most of my trees have an animal buried underneath it (dead animal and a tree to plant = perfect timing) – there are at least one chook under a stone fruit tree, a galah under the blackberry, a cat (that decided to die almost on my front step and none of the neighbors know who it belonged to) under the apple tree. This was met with an “ewe, when you eat the apples you’ll to be eating dead cat” with which I responded “well id rather eat dead cat in my apples than the crap that is on the ones you buy at the supper market”, my colleague responded with “its all just a natural process of things breaking down, the petrol and oil we use in our cars is dead dinosaurs, is that going to stop you using your car?”.
Any way the conversation ended up getting a little bit silly, as a combination of being a Friday afternoon, this girl being so easy to stir up (in a good way), and just us being us, and always enjoying a laugh when we can.
It got me thinking though that this girl wants to grow things herself. She was elated when my colleague, said he had raspberries growing almost as a weed and he would bring her in a whole lot of canes so she could grow them herself. And seeing her birthday is coming up how good it would be to give her a “gardening for dummies” type book.
So give me some suggestions, simple but informative, not so much how to live off your own 20 acres type thing but a I grew this in my courtyard/suburban back yard type thing.
Oh and if its a booklet type thing that can be downloaded of the internet, and printed and bound all the better.October 14, 2011 at 9:41 pm #510238
I love Jackie French. Her books are very much ‘bung it in and it’ll grow’ types. Her ‘best of Jackie French’ is really great, my favourite gardening book, but a bit pricey. I think she has quite a few others that are older and probably cheaper though. I think she also has a webpage, so you could probably print out quite a bit from there. Perhaps even a stack of articles from around the net would be even better than a book?October 14, 2011 at 9:58 pm #510239
Hi Vanessa, I like the Jackie French books too but I love my Peter Cundall one best. Has a month by month what you should do in the garden.
SandraOctober 15, 2011 at 2:54 am #510240
Not sure about all of Jackie French’s books but the two I have tend to concentrate on long term gardening, tree groves planted over several years, as in “twenty years from plums to mangoes ” , perennial beds that require “only two days work a year” and so on.Not sure that they would be useful for a novice gardener? What about getting her going with no-dig gardening instead? That truly is quick and easy – my first efforts were incredibly successful.Esther Dean’s is the classic and more than enough to get a newbie going.Just make sure she uses lucerne mulch as one of the layers, repeated if possible.And she won’t have to worry about her “bad soil” and after a couple of harvests she’ll have some patches of great soil!! I’ll never drive again without thinking of dead dinosaurs in the tank!!! :jawdrop: :laugh:October 15, 2011 at 9:54 am #510241
Oops! I’ve just accidentally sent a reply to Blue Wren instead of the thread. Sorry, Blue Wren. 🙂
Vanessa, Jeffrey Hodges’ ‘Natural Gardening in Australia’ gives a good background on things like soils, nutrients, compost etc and the importance of doing it naturally. It goes into depth on how to start beds, how to raise seedlings etc. There’s also a section on fruit trees. It doesn’t go into the specifics of individual vegetables.October 15, 2011 at 11:03 am #510242
I like Annette McFarlane’s ‘Organic Vegetable Gardening’. It’s not too thick and fairly inexpensive. The first half has simple really good things like a chart of what to grow when for each climate, organic spray recipes, explanations of poo, explanation of no-dig gardening, simple crop-rotation. The 2nd half is an A-Z of every vegetable and how/when to plant it, save seeds etc. I’ve leant my copy to lots of novice gardeners at work who have found it to be a really good resource for a beginner.October 15, 2011 at 7:02 pm #510243
Bel post=326769 wrote: I like Annette McFarlane’s ‘Organic Vegetable Gardening’. It’s not too thick and fairly inexpensive. The first half has simple really good things like a chart of what to grow when for each climate, organic spray recipes, explanations of poo, explanation of no-dig gardening, simple crop-rotation. The 2nd half is an A-Z of every vegetable and how/when to plant it, save seeds etc. I’ve leant my copy to lots of novice gardeners at work who have found it to be a really good resource for a beginner.
I have this one, agree it is quite a good one for the basics, i think I got it in one of those packs at the post office, with an Australian natives book, might have to keep an eye out to see if they still have it.October 15, 2011 at 11:35 pm #510244
That’s where I got mine from too! In a pack of 4 with a mulch book, native book and 1 other I can’t remember just now. I’ve seen the book more recently in the ABC Book Shop – she has a recent edition.October 16, 2011 at 8:54 am #510245
I like Lyn Bagnall’s book. I found it really helpful as it covered every question i had!Can’t remember the full anme though- “Organic Gardening” i thinkOctober 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm #510246
Gardening Australia have just released a “How to” DVD covering the basics of gardeningOctober 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm #510247
I have always found that Yates Gardening Guide is packed with good info, for someone who enjoys reading. Being Yates, they do advocate using chemicals, which is not ideal, but there is a lot of other good stuff in there.
I also like the Digger’s Club books. “The Australian Fruit and Vegetable Garden” covers lots of vegetables, herbs, fruits, nuts and berries, as well as topics like making your own compost. Retail $39.95. They have a web site here.October 16, 2011 at 4:49 pm #510248
I think the best book is “Easy Organic Gardening & Moon Planting” , published by Scribe, authored by Lyn Bagnall. Its got everything you need & why in a really easy to read style.
The ABC Organic Gardener magazine is also a great help and a subscription gets you six magazines a year which coincides beautifully with preparation & planting times.
Diggers is also really helpful and provides almost everything you need.
The Lost Seed has a great website, great seed, and really helpful seed packets.
Jackie French is a legend.October 20, 2011 at 11:57 am #510249
I’m finding Harvest: A Complete Australian Guide to the Edible Garden by Meredith Kirton relly helpful as it covers everything from soil, climate, raising seedlings, pests diseases and information on a whole range of fruits and vegetables.
Though there are some really interesting books in this thread that i’ll have to check out too.October 20, 2011 at 4:51 pm #510250
Your car is powered by dead dinosaurs. :laugh: I’ll have to remember that one!
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.