Must have Gardening/Cook Books.


I was asked today what gardening books I would recommend ……. here they are.

One of the first gardening books I ever bought and I love it to bits.

The Best of Jackie French.

A practical guide to everything from aphids to zucchini chocolate cake.

Every year when the zucchini are in abundance, out comes this book and I cook Jackie French’s Chocolate cake recipe.

This cake is amazing ……. I never tell guests that it has zucchini until after the first taste, everyone loves this recipe and it makes wonderfully rich muffins.

Jackie’s book is a great one for people starting out with their food gardens as it covers such a wide range of plants, fruit, veggies and herbs and under each plant is a list of recipes and uses.

The only down side is no pictures …… I do love photo’s of what a plant looks like and how a recipe is visually interpreted but the way Jackie writes makes up for the lack of visual encouragement. A must have for the garden/cook book library. 4/5

One Magic Square

Grow your own food on one square metre.

Lolo Houbein

A friend lent this one to me a little while ago (M I promise I get it back to you soon:) and I read it cover to cover.

If you are someone who likes step by step instruction, then this book is for you. Lolo sets out complete metre square planting and garden maintainance guides. For the busy amoung us, you can just read the chapter you want and the references Lolo suggests.

So is your cooking passion Stir Fry, go to page 38 and follow Lolo’s how to have fresh yummy stir fry ingredients through out spring and summer.

Would a Pasta/Pizza Plot be more to your liking, then page 42 is for you.  All you need to know to grow basil and bush tomatoes, chillies and chives, capsicum and eggplant, rocket and red onions. All in just one square metre.

Lolo points out that a square metre can be in a yard on the ground or in pots on a balcony. This is a must have book for the beginner garden and a great inspiration to more developed green thumbs. 4/5

Natural Farming

Pat Coleby.

If there is one book that could change animal and people health for the better it would be Natural Farming. Pat is a Victorian woman of immense experience in animal and soil health.

Pat talks in plain english about the reason animals, people and our land is so sick and how we can fix it.

I first came across one of Pat’s books, Natural Horse Care in 2000 and I can honestly say it changed my life.

I read Natural Horse Care in an afternoon and I must say that I though Pat was a bit extreme and must have the wrong end of the stick (please forgive me Pat).

My reaction was due to Pat writing about conditions that I have seen horse’s put down for or sent to the ‘doggers’. Pat stated these conditions/issues could be fixed in just a few days or in some cases hours with some crushed mineral rock or vitamin powder.

Within a few days I had a chance to test one of her claims, a very sick baby Alpaca had collapsed with a paralyse tick, she was raced into a vet who after some convincing gave the youngster anti venom.

The treatment cost more than the worth of the Alpaca and the vet considered it’s chance of survival so slim that it wasn’t worth even trying but the owner insisted.

The youngster continued to deteriorated and the vet said she was dieing ……. I asked the vet about giving her Vitamin C as Pat Coleby suggests and promptly got told that ‘we don’t do that  witch potion stuff here!’

I could see that the little one would not make it, went outside, tracked down Pat Coleby’s number and called her. Pat set me straight and gave me the confidence to go and encourage the vet to give the vitamin C.

After a war of words, the vet gave the vitamin C, within 20 minutes (right on the time Pat told me the improvements would occur) the little Alpaca improved to the point the vet told us to take her home.

On getting home I wasn’t completely happy with the improvement I was seeing and ran back Coleby only to find out that the Vet didn’t give enough vitamin C to help the little Alpaca recover, we soon sorted that out and the little alpaca fully recovered.

I went on to use minerals and vitamins with all sorts of conditions and to improve general animal wellbeing both of pets and livestock.

I also used the powdered rock and dust around the garden.

Amazing woman and out of all of her books Natural Farming would be the first to read. 5/5

Now the lucky last…..

Kitchen Garden Companion

Stephanie Alexander

Now I must declare ….. I am a garden specialist for a Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program within a primary school but my exposure to Stephanie’s books happened way before my direct involvement in the program.

I first read The Cook’s Companion cover to cover after spying it in my Mother in Laws bookcase …… that was a few years ago and my MIL has had the book returned a few times but borrowed back just as quick. It is our kitchen bible or sometime fondly called ‘the brick’ referring both to its size and colour!

Even though the Cook’s Companion is fantastic, I would suggest if you had to choose between it and Stephanie’s new book, I would pick  The Kitchen Garden Companion.

Full of photo’s of wonderful produce, gardens in abundances and delicious recipes this book is one for every passionate cook or gardener.

Our family just bought it as a gift for my MIL (at least she has one of Stephanie’s books 🙂 ) and I so much would like my own copy (hint hint loved ones) 6/5

As I go through my bookcase I will let you know more Must Have books.

Until then Happy Gardening (and cooking)


PS Stay turned for a blog update Melbourne Mango, tomorrow I am assisting a group of primary school students plant a mango tree and over 45 tree and plants to create a Sub Tropical Oasis in a Melbourne school yard ….. bizarre but true!!!!!


One Response to “Must have Gardening/Cook Books.”

  1. Maria Says:

    Thanks for making this list up. While I used to read lots of these type of books back in the late 80’s/early 90’s, you really helped with jogging my memory of some of my favourite authors and now I have some new ones too ☺

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: