Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I was provided with a copy of Edible Garden for review, but all opinions are my own.
I am always up for checking out a new gardening book, such as Edible Garden from Cleis Press and Viva Editions, especially as winter sets in and I start thinking about what we may accomplish next year.
Alys Fowler, BBC personality and master gardener, has written a comprehensive guide to polyculture gardening. Her style of gardening is more about drifts than rows and incorporating flowers and vegetables together in order to make an organic feel to your edible garden. It is a beautiful aesthetic that does require work and finding a balance in what you want to plant and how you want it to benefit you in the kitchen and out in your soil.
Fowler explains that while polyculture may be a slower way to approach gardening, it will provide a higher yield. When you are organized with your planting schedule, you can even keep food coming in succession. I have definitely been guilty of having handfuls upon handfuls of beans all coming in at once. It is definitely going to require me to sit down with a calendar and map out when to plant next year. But, with Fowler’s book, I am ready.
In addition to explaining polyculture, Edible Garden is peppered with great tips like surveying what you already have in your garden and building on what you want to keep and take out. We have a small section trees in the back corner of our backyard that needs some thinning and uprooting and that is my first big project for next year. I also would love to try putting some herbs below our lilac bushes in order to vary the foliage and utilize the space to add to our kitchen garden. Fowler also guides the reader through foraging when your garden is in a down time, growing in containers (including an amazing reference for pot depths for different foods) and using green manures. The green manures section in Edible Garden was one of my favorites. She explains how to fold harvested plants directly back into the soil and compost within your containers. Brilliant!
Finally, Alys Fowler offers recipes for preservation, fermentation and cooking. It’s a great way to know how to best utilize what you are groiwng. Also, she has some great tips for bouquets to incorporate veggies and flowers in one presentation. Seed saving tips and a color and contrast chart are also invaluable to anyone looking to plant a well executed garden.
If you have a gardener on your holiday gift list, I would highly recommend Edible Garden. It makes for a great way to keep a little of spring and summer in your winter. You can find more Alys Fowler resources on her blog, her weekly Guardian column, and the work that she has done with BBC2.
How do you decide what to plant? What style is your garden? Would you give polyculture a try?