Book Review: The Alternative Kitchen Garden
Ever since I knew Emma Cooper was writing a book about her Alternative Kitchen Garden, I'd been intrigued how she would make it stand out from the many books about vegetable and fruit growing currently found in our bookshops today.
Thankfully she's taken a different approach to the usual monthly/seasonal calendar and come up with a unique guide on how to transform a garden into a productive one. Like many of us, Emma started with just a few pots, but soon realised this wouldn't be enough for her. Today, her garden is dedicated to growing fruit and vegetables - and chickens! - with a 'grow dome' installed to extend the productive season and to grow her more tender crops.
It's not a 'How to' book - there's plenty of those on the market already - but there are lots of hints and tips within its 371 pages. Instead it's an A-Z of enthusiasm, ideas and experiments, where Freecycling, Osteopathy and Zero Waste cheerfully rub shoulders with Achocha, Peas and Strawberries. Unlike most gardening books, Emma is looking at the kitchen garden in its widest sense. She isn't afraid to talk about her failures as well as her successes and sometimes you won't find definitive answers either as Emma is discussing what she's found out so far from eight years of gardening. That honesty is most refreshing and should encourage pretty well everyone to 'have a go', whether they're starting out or just wanting to try something that bit different.
A positive, friendly and informative book, which has relevance for anyone growing their own in the 21st century, irrespective of whether they're a beginner or have some experience.
You can also catch up with how things are progressing in Emma's garden via her blog and podcasts.