First there’s the title: “Grow. Food. Anywhere.”
You can’t get more encouraging than that, especially for newbies trying to raise food in a small urban space such as Los Angeles, where some of us are trying to grow edibles on back patios, decks or front porches.
But does it deliver? Absolutely. This new book by Australians Mat Pember (native-born) and Dillon Seitchik-Reardon (immigrant from New Mexico) is heavy with useful A-to-Z information about building, planting and maintaining a garden. And there’s plenty for the gardener here in and around Los Angeles.
The two are Australia’s bestselling garden authors and owners of the Little Veggie Patch Co., a business dedicated to helping everyone grow food, “regardless of your skill-set or space at your disposal.”
“Grow. Food. Anywhere.,” their fifth book, is laid out in three sections: what plants need, 54 fruits and vegetables to grow, and 23 pests and diseases to know. And unlike many “you-can-do-it!” books, their instructions are so comprehensive and easy to follow they make any job seem possible for mere mortals like me.
For instance, in the zucchini section, the authors noted one of my biggest problems with the king of summer squash: “fruit that begins to form but quickly turns into shriveled prunes — a sign of poor pollination — so good old-fashioned hand pollination may be required.”
“Oh, yeah,” I thought. “Like I know anything about hand pollination.”
But lo and behold, on the very next page is a six-step hand-pollination primer so simple and straightforward that a child not only could do it, but would probably have to be restrained from hand-pollinating every plant in the garden.
There are equally easy steps for converting a “wheelie bin” — trash can on wheels — into a worm farm/compost pile that fits on the smallest patio and collects the holy grail of manure teas: “worm wee.”
That clinched it for me. Wheelie bins? Worm wee?
Best. Garden book. Ever.
‘Grow. Food. Anywhere.: The New Guide to Small-Space Gardening’
Hardie Grant, 288 pages, $29.99