The idea of growing your own food is merely an idea if you have not venture into this area of life. Being someone with green fingers is not a skill cultivated overnight; it takes years of learning, unlearning and experimenting to acquire the knowledge and skill. A read of the book on ‘How to Garden’ by Jonathan Edwards can be resourceful.
Whether you are an experienced gardener or a complete beginner, this book contains everything that you need to know about planning, planting and maintaining your garden. It includes all the essential gardening skills, from design and maintenance techniques to ideas for more adventurous projects, such as building a pond.
The book begins with simple design ideas and advice about planning lawns, beds and borders with straightforward instructions for laying paths, putting down decking and erecting fences. The sections that follow are packed with useful advice including how to improve your soil and how to achieve a perfect, weed-free lawn. There’s plenty of practical information on using a huge variety of plants, from trees and shrubs to climbers, bulbs and border flowers, and essential advice on what to buy, as well as guidance on planting and pruning.
You’ll find out, too, how to transform your courtyard and home with glorious ideas for planting patio pots and window boxes. The book then builds on this basic knowledge to suggest more spectacular ideas for gardens, including ponds, water features, bog gardens, rock gardens, and greenhouse and kitchen gardens.
The final sections cover the skills you will need to keep your garden in tip-top shape, from weeding, feeding and pest control to propagation, and include an at-a-glance check-list of essential tasks to do throughout the year. Packed with hundreds of illustrated step-by-step techniques, this classic compendium will help you plan, plant – and enjoy – your perfect garden.
The book shares practical step-by-step gardening techniques with 900 photographs, however reading it requires the reader to have a mission and objective, otherwise you will find yourself lost in the vast seas of knowledge.
With the content structure marshaled into 15 chapters, it contains a comprehensive information guides on – 1) planning your garden, 2) preparing the soil, 3) lawns, 4) trees and shrubs, 5) climbers, 6) flowers, 7) patios and containers, 8) water and rock gardening, 9) vegetable gardening, 10) herb gardening, 11) greenhouse gardening, 12) fruit gardening, 13) propagation, 14) basic techniques and 15) seasonal check-list. The flow of information is easy to follow – using a simple format, it caters to answer the basic questions – who, what, when, where, why and how.
A case in point, chapter 2 – ‘Preparing the soil’: it explains why you should make effort to know your soil and how you should go about doing it (by assessing and testing your soil); next is to improve your soil through a few techniques, one of it includes soil conditioning with rich organic matter such as well-rotted farmyard manure, garden compost or mushroom compost, then followed by a pictorial section on how to prepare the soil for planting; moving on it touches on making compost and leaf mould – tackling queries on what can you compost, ways to speed up composting and creating a leaf mould; and finally this section closes with ‘how to choose and use fertilizers’ by revealing a few categories of fertilizers ranging from inorganic fertilizers (potash, sulphate of ammonia, etc) to organic fertilizers (fish, blood, bone, seaweed, etc). In between it covers the area on how to add organic material in pictorial format.
In summary, the book “How to Garden” provides great basic tips and guides for gardeners, although some of the techniques are applicable only if you’re from a place with four seasons. If you are new to this area, perhaps seeking advice from gardeners near you could lend additional assistance in understanding the topic at hand.
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Jonathan Edwards. How to Garden, a Practical Step-by-step Encyclopedia of Gardening Techniques with 900 Photographs (London: Anness Publishing Limited, 2001, 2008)