Yates Vegetable Garden by Rachel Vogan.

There must have been a secret memo that went around NZ publishers of gardening books and most acquiesced. Henceforth, gardening books should be chatty, friendly, folksy wolksy and not too technical. This book fits those criteria, as have too many other recent publications. So this book is probably adequate and user-friendly for absolute beginners. By the time you have enough experience to spot the shortcomings, you will probably have learned enough not to need it any longer. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that it is from the same mould as the earlier Yates Garden Guides which were the bible for NZ gardeners over many decades, just as the Edmonds Cookbook was the kitchen stalwart. This is not. Aubergines are listed under E (for egg plant). Sweetcorn can be grown in old recycling bins and dropped over to the neighbours to look after if you are going away for the weekend. Melons can be sown as late as January in warm climates (Bali, perhaps?). Product placement by the sponsor is intrusive.

Maybe one day soon, NZ publishers will realise it takes quite a bit of experience and knowledge to be able to sift through information and distil it down to its simplest, most user-friendly form. Friendly enthusiasm is not sufficient.

(Harper Collins; ISBN: 978 1 86950 928 6).
First published in the Waikato Times.

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2 thoughts on “Yates Vegetable Garden by Rachel Vogan.

  1. Helen Irvine

    100% Abbie.How on earth do you ever learn anything with the plethora of air brushed happy clappy books out now I do not know. Ralph Ballinger was the last person to produce a vegetable garden book that was worth the price. He came after The Home Vegetable Garden, Dept Agriculture Bulletin put out in 1967 approx. People need practical facts especially the time of year to plant what.Nurseries are pretty useless. Tomatoes in Christchurch in August?? Don’t think so. Helen Irvine.

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