Today is the official launch day of Dave Hamilton’s new book Grow Your Food for Free (Well Almost). I was lucky enough to be given a preview copy, so I’ve already read it :)
The introduction reveals one of the reasons that this book is different to many of the others on the topic of frugal gardening – it’s written from the perspective of people who are tenants, and who may not have access to any kind of permanent garden. There is therefore more information on finding space in which to garden, as well as the more usual topics of planning, wildlife, soil, and water. There’s also good stuff on making use of waste and scrounging for wood.
After the introduction the book is divided into four seasonal sections. in Spring you will find everything you need to know about seeds, crop protection, compost mixes, propagation, and making your own plant labels and containers. There’s also a section on adding to your harvest by collecting wild ‘extras’ – as there is in each following season.
Summer covers plant support, weeds, feeding plants and a section on pests and diseases (although the only disease that is covered is blight and I couldn’t see any mention of crop rotation as a healthy practice). There’s also more on propagation and seed-saving.
In Autumn Dave turns to harvesting (including some great instructions for fashioning origami bags to help you carry stuff home if you’ve forgotten your containers) and storage. Once again there’s seasonal information on propagation and seed-saving techniques, as well as making leaf mould.
When you get to winter you’ll find details on soil and tool care, and construction projects large and small (including making your own green roofs).
The plans for DIY projects are simple and designed to make use of salvaged wood. Dave uses anecdotes and humour to get his message across (apparently money is better spent on beer than gardening ;) and has created a very entertaining, yet comprehensive read. A good choice for a novice gardener with a limited budget.