“The biggest reason to have a kitchen garden is for your own happiness” writes author, Nicole Johnsey Burke, and I suggest that the best place to start for those who wish to have a kitchen garden is with this book.
There is an approach in this book seldom, if ever, seen elsewhere – that the kitchen garden should be something beautiful, something the gardener will be proud of, will enjoy and where they will be happy to spend their time. There is an Irish saying, “Tús maith, leath na h-oibre” – a good start is half the work – and this book will give the beginner or those starting to make a kitchen garden that good start.
This book is perfectly suited to the modern gardener, particularly those with little space but a desire to grow some limited amount of their own fruit and vegetables. The author’s career has been the design and building of kitchen gardens and that, almost exclusively, in smaller spaces so that over the years she has developed an approach which, rather than placing the kitchen garden in an out of the way corner, an out of sight position, places it front and centre in the garden, a core attraction and a beautiful feature connecting house and garden seamlessly.
It is not expected that these proposed kitchen gardens will lead to a self-sufficiency in fruit and vegetables but will give a wide sample of a wide variety. They will, however, provide a mindful and peaceful activity, a practical hobby, an appreciation of good food and local produce and a beautiful and central feature in the garden.
The book is practical in its approach leading the reader through site selection, the gathering of materials needed for the building project, the installation of the structure of the garden with advice on soil/compost mixtures and water supply. There is advice on the selection of plants, how to plant them, tend to them and harvest them. It is practical throughout, simple and straight forward, a perfect handbook for the kitchen gardener.
[Kitchen Garden Revival, Nicole Johnsey Burke, Cool Springs Press (an imprint of The Quarto Group), 2020, Massachusetts, Hardback, 207 pages, £22, ISBN: 978-0-7603-6686-8]