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New Vegetable Garden Techniques- essential skills and projects for tastier healthier crops by Joyce Russell

Gardening can be a fulfilling passion, and even more so, when you relish the fruits (or vegetables!) of your hard labour. And, it always helps to have a good friend and guide along the way. New Vegetable Garden Techniques- essential skills and projects for taster healthier crops by Joyce Russell, published by White Lion Publishing, is a book written with the aim of guiding amateur gardeners, and tipping up information for experienced ones.  

Learning Vegetable garden techniques from a book can be really easy and practical, if written in an accessible way. This is exactly where Russell’s book scores high. The best part here is the manner in which the information has been organised. There is a deep connect between the pictures and the text, and the many pictures really aid the reader immensely. Several boxed tips and pieces of information make this a very reader-friendly guide. 

There are 25 DIY projects in the book. These are illustrated step-by-step. The book is very practical in nature. Each “project” is presented as a recipe, complete with the list of what you need and the method. Handy tips from experience have been boxed. 

The range of skills and steps required for growing your own vegetable patch is wide. Right from preparing land (or choosing the right container), to getting the right soil, making compost, taking care of pests, tending to specific plant requirements and so on, there are a gamut of steps. A lot of comprehensive information is presented in a very accessible manner. 

The book is also peppered with specific examples of specific plant requirements, again adding to the handiness aspect. I liked the DIY section on making your own basket and growing plants within. Not only can one enjoy the produce, but also have a spectacular design feature. I also found the tips of growing seedlings, micronutrients and so on quite helpful, how to improve your soil and add on to make richer soil, 

There are a few really excellent diagrammatic representations which are very handy. For me, the one on soil nutrients was a great ready reckoner in giving me information about my garden soil. 

Ideas to try….

Why not grow your own bucket garden? Plastic buckets make for wonderful containers and they can be moved around easily thanks to the handles. Grow your favourite veggies within! They are also a perfect solution for a children’s garden as they are light and easy to move around. 

It is a good idea to use biodegradable containers to grow seedlings. Once the plants are ready to be replanted in larger containers or prepared beds, you could plant out the pots themselves, which in due course will decompose, leaving no waste behind. 

This book opened my eyes to an untapped area- using fresh shoots for consuming. By germinating young seeds and using the fresh sprouts you can add immense variety and health to your diet. Microgreens are the way to go! 

Keep adding to the soil to provide the right balance of nutrients and drainage that each new crop needs. 

Leaves are a free valuable resource for most gardeners. Fallen leaves can be used as mulch, or compost. If you have a mower that powders them, use this to sprinkle the powder on your plants. 

Planting different crops in different areas of the garden each year helps to prevent pests and diseases building up in the soil, resulting in healthier plants and harvests. 

Armed with these newfound Vegetable garden techniques, I’m sure gardening for consuming will become more accessible to most of us than it ever was before! 

And if you’re interested in reading more about gardening, “Ground Rules” is a great book to refer to.

Dhanishta Shah

Dhanishta is a Counselling Psychologist and a freelance writer. She is the Founder of Bookedforlife.