Now bacon is off the ration…

The complete vegetable grower – W.E. Shewell-Cooper – Faber & Faber 1955
Here’s a great book picked up in a charity shop in lovely Sudbury last week. First published in 1955, it describes itself as a “book for the amateur who wants to grow all his/her own vegetables and save him/herself at least £100 a year”. It covers subjects as crop rotation, soil structure and composting and has a comprehensive section on “The culture of vegetables alphabetically” covering growing tips, harvesting and using the vegetable featured.

The chapter “Unusual vegetables for original gardeners” sounds like a name of a Buzzcocks live LP and features all sorts of veg, some we knew, the asparagus pea for instance and lots we didn’t: Good King Henry, the Potato Onion and Couve Tronchuda.

Amazing what you learn from those old school gardening books from a time when blokes wore shirts and ties down the allotment. One to search out for!

Currently borrowing this week

Good Night and Good Riddance (How Thirty-Five years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Life) – David Cavanagh – Faber & Faber 2016

Here’s a good book that we had to take out of Shoe Lane Library the other day and it was the following passage that helped in the decision: “The Desperate Bicycles, from London, make one or two false moves on their single ‘Smokescreen’, which sounds like a busker fumbling his way through ‘Give Peace a Chance’ while a pub pianist thumps away in the background.” A good read indeed if you remember the great man Peel!

The original, the original, sin

Recently we’ve been re-flicking through that classic from 1946, Adam The Gardener” by Cyril Cowell after featuring a great dahlia tip from it the other week. Ta to Andy at City Uni who originally told me about the book.The dandy highway manOn one page it features some great gadgets in a “I’m skint but I used to watch Blue Peter and have a jam jar full of screws and some old wood knocking around the house though” stylee.Gardening gadgets_1And some gardening “don’ts” that even after all these years still apply. Brilliant stuff.Don'tGo out and get a copy, it’s worth it even just for ripping off his great gardening look!

It’s a small world…

My tiny

Our book of the week is My Tiny Veg Plot by Lia Leendertz (Pavillion) and was obtained from the shelves of Holborn Library. Earlier this week I was flicking through their “what’s new” section when I found this one alongside Dave Haslam’s (author of Debris fanzine) Life after Dark.

Lia’s book is well different from the usual gardening books as there’s no month by month “what to do” guide or “vegetables by alphabetical order” but features some well interesting plot ideas.

It includes amongst other things, a balcony in Bristol, a veg plot on the back of a pick-up truck (a bonkers but good idea!) in the states, a keyhole garden (a mad version of a raised bed) in Lesotho, a rooftop plot in Hong Kong, mobile herbs in the author’s camper van and our gardening friend Penny Golightly‘s London budget backyard too. A book well worth having a look at!

Pre-solstice shouty vibes

ded yampy 2

Big shout to Tim and Stand up and spit for posting up the second issue of my old fanzine Ded Yampy from many moons ago here. Respect is due Tim!

If you love “Ranting poetry, sweary poetry, boozy poetry” Stand up and Spit is for you!

Cheers to my good mate Pete R too for originally spotting it!

More old time fanzine business here. Cheers Joly!

Book of the week

Veg growers almanacGardeners’ World: The Veg Grower’s Almanac: Month by Month Planning and Planting – Martyn Cox – BBC Books 2014 – £9.99

I found this in the library this week, a nice compact little gardening book that’ll snugly fit into a donkey jacket pocket. It’s a handy little publication sectioned off month-by-month with what jobs to do and has features on vegetables that are relevant to that month too. It’s all in black and white with no pics but has some nice graphics and a sow and grow chart at the back. Simple and informative and a book worth buying or one for a long-term loan out of the library.

Trouble is though with library books you do really have to take care of them. When it comes to gardening books I have taken them outside into the garden, balanced cups of tea on them and even have been known to read them in the bath. The last one I had from the library went back after a good few renewals and in a bit of a state. Thank god for those automatic machines, rather than getting an earful from an angry librarian!

A book worth getting (but not one for dropping into the bath!)

Can you wake up now, please?

London Gardens A-z

The London Garden Book A-Z – Abigail Willis – Metro

I popped into Charing Cross library last week and between playing “spot the sleeping person” and the “where’s the spare chair?”, I came across this great book in the gardening section.

It’s an interesting read about gardens around the capital circa 2012. It’s been well researched and features everything from Kew, The Barbican Conservatory, beekeeping on top of The Royal Festival Hall to lesser known gardens like Roots and Shoots (where I did an introduction to beekeeping course with the LBKA a few years ago), The Food From The Sky growing project on top of a supermarket in Crouch End (sadly no more), Mark from Vertical Veg (who’s also well into his music), the Horniman Museum and Gardens (up the road from us who have a great annual plant sale) and even a traffic island in E9 that went to pot but now been planted out in a guerrilla gardening style, a great Zen garden in Acton and a whole lot more. Even Shannon’s our local garden centre is mentioned in it. What more do you want?

A great book documenting gardens in the capital from the big to the small!

And talking of the capital…