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No Work Garden : Bob Flowerdew


  11:14:58 am, by Nimble   , 357 words  
Categories: Reviews, Books, Gardening

No Work Garden : Bob Flowerdew

I picked this up on sale; a quick flip through the book gave me an inkling is was a good book. Indeed, it is.

Bob Flowerdew, with his all-too-appropriate-sounding name (though a web search turns out other people with the same last name) is a popular organic gardener in the UK. The title, as you might figure, is a misnomer; the only 'no-work' garden is one you completely ignore. That said, he certainly focuses on ways out of the back-breaking labour gardens sometimes entail.

The book is surprisingly packed with useful information.

Reality checks are common. One particular insight I enjoyed is when he asked an audience how many of them grew radishes (many hands), and how many of them grew strawberries (few hands) - then flipped the question around... how many EAT radishes (few hands), and how many of them EAT strawberries (many hands).

The moral: don't grow what you won't eat.

You're not a farmer, so don't give away the best and keep the dregs for yourself. Don't ask commercial growers for tips - they're concerned with squeezing out as much production as they can, and it's labour-inducing overkill to fertilize and work the land the way they do. Don't ask prize-winning food growers - most shows are concerned with size or appearance - precious few are concerned with taste. What are you going to do with a tasteless human-head-sized turnip?

A light heart and a concern for land and labour are present throughout. Low-labour lawn care tips, practical weed control, why fruits are better for the home gardener than vegetables, how to grow vegetables anyhow, companion plantings, mulches, what to do - and not do - about pests, and some detailed information on fruit and nut trees accompany some lavish photography.

The book is for the UK climate, but most of the advice is well-taken regardless of where you live.

My favourite quote in the book, re: animals and how to use them to help in the garden:

I cannot recommend hens too lightly as a recycling scheme; everyone ought to have a few - they are less work than a pet dog and their eggs are much better.

Highly recommended.

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