from paddock to potagerA journey from Paddock to Potager

Review by Penny Woodward

Some books are practical and useful, some tell a story, some are beautiful to hold and use: Seasons in my Kitchen Garden is all of these and more. The first thing I noticed about Marcelle Nankervis’s delightful third book was the design, which makes the most of the lovely photographs. Delectable close ups of fresh produce, snippets of farm life, and only two photos of Marcelle (I hate this current trend where gardening books and magazines have more photos of the author than they do of the produce or garden!). The book starts with the story of why Marcelle and her family moved to the small farm and this story continues, interwoven between practical seasonal pages about the how to, growing and harvest of fruit and vegetables. She tells of the things that worked, and the things that went terribly wrong. How she wouldn’t put the pigs next to the house again, how her children have become her pest controllers and how they now all wear safety goggles anytime they are working on the farm (you have to read the book to find out why). Breaking up the story of the first year are practical hints: how to buildĀ  a vegetable bed, planting bare-rooted trees, no-dig gardens, crop rotation and pest control. Also how to grow and harvest everything from pears and apples, to rhubarb, mushrooms, asparagus, beetroot and broccoli and much, much more. Marcelle is a well known gardening writer, researcher and editor, with stints at Your Garden, Better Homes and Gardens and Burke’s Backyard – some ongoing. Her warmth and knowledge shine though in her writing, making the whole book a joy to read. Based on sustainable and organic principles, this book is definitely recommended for gardeners and anyone interested in starting their own small farm. Borrow it from your local library, buy it from a bookshop or go to Marcelle’s blog to find out more

By Marcelle Nankervis, Hardie Grant, $39.95