(Currently Out of Print)
By John Mason
Growing and Using Vegetables and Herbs shows you how to grow over 90 different vegetables and herbs. It also describes how to create a striking garden design using the colours and foliage of vegetable and herb plants.
Grow your own delicious food successfully, no matter how small your space is, and it can look stylish while it's growing. Once your produce is ready for picking, this book also shows you how to harvest and preserve it for picking.
FREE ONLINE DISTANCE EDUCATION COURSE utilising this book and additional information on the internet.
Information to access the course on the first page inside the book
Even in today’s complex and technology-driven society the hunter-gatherer instinct is strongly present within most of us. Growing edible plants and creating beautiful garden spaces is a way that we can keep in touch with nature and the simpler joys of life.
Extract from the book:
WHY GROW HERBS AND VEGETABLES?
Watching plants grow from seed to harvest and knowing that the armful of vegies and herbs you have just gathered for the evening meal will be on the table within an hour or two of harvest can be an exciting and satisfying experience.
There are lots of other reasons to grow vegies:
• You save money
• You have the satisfaction of being self sufficient
• You know what you are using (you can never be sure that purchased products are pure and uncontaminated)
• You have a reliable supply of preferred varieties.
• Your food is fresher
• Just for fun!
Vegetables and Herbs in the Garden
The most obvious reason to grow vegies or herbs is to harvest and use them but that isn’t the only reason. Many vegetables and herbs can be just as attractive or functional as the ornamental and amenity plants we grow.
Using herbs and vegies for better visual impact is simply a matter of plant selection and arrangement. In the past, when almost every house was on a quarter-acre block, vegetables were grown in separate beds in the backyard, with each variety planted in neatly spaced rows. These days few householders have the space or time to devote to this style of gardening, so it makes sense to grow edible plants alongside ornamental varieties. For example, a bed of edible and ornamental plants could include perennial lettuces as edging plants, climbing peas on tripods, clumps of rainbow chard and leafy parsley for colour and texture, backed by a screen of sweet corn. There are endless possibilities of combinations – a task made easier each season’s release of exciting new compact and colourful varieties.
Vegetables and herbs can also be used to improve the backyard environment. Planting green manures and using organic mulches and composts will improve soil fertility and help to control erosion. Problem soils, such as excessively wet or dry soils, can also be improved by choosing varieties adapted to those conditions.
In a small but important way, growing vegetables will increase the biodiversity of your garden – the vegie patch will be a haven for bees, birds, lizards and other animals in need of food, water and shelter.
What can you produce in your garden?
What you produce from your garden will depend on the amount of space that you have. Obviously the larger the property, the more potential you will have to produce a large variety of crops. Large properties can support a range of fruit trees, vines, vegetables, herbs, grains and even hay and straw, as well as animals and chickens. The smaller the property, the more thought you will need to give to what you do and don’t grow. Ask yourself what would I like to produce? Then take it from there. Some produce you could consider:
• Meat (poultry, rabbits, pigs)
• Fuel (wood, methane gas, electricity)
• Building materials
• Craft materials
Simon & Schuster Australia, September 2005
Trade Paperback, 142 pages