This is organic gardening as carried out by a dedicated moon planter but easy it is not. The author subscribes to the why-use-one-sentence-when-you-can-use-ten school of writing. It is very long and wordy, filled with so much detail that even the experienced and knowledgeable gardener can end up seriously baffled. You need to be a believer to want this book. As it is in its second edition, there are either a fair number of believers out there or there is a thirst for knowledge on the topic of organic gardening. I suspect the latter but I am not convinced this book will give the answers.
I am very keen to see books which will separate the organic gardening concepts from faith and mystique. Psuedo science does not do it. Nor do sweeping statements. When I read statements like: “I must confess to not fully understanding the science behind this particular portion of moon-planting principles, but I do know it works in practice,” I start to worry. The author is referring to the changed polarities of yin and yang in Virgo and Libra. I get irritated by the careless use of the word chemical as a synonym for all that is bad and destructive in gardening. A chemical is simply a substance or a compound. In itself it is neither good nor bad. I raised my eyebrows at the claim that synthetic fertilisers lock up essential nutrients in New Zealand soils. Really?
I am all for sustainable gardening practice and I think it is all to the good that we are questioning some pretty dodgy habits. If you are willing to drill down into this book, it promotes good environmental practice, aimed at the author’s homeland of Australia. It covers both ornamental and productive gardening and even has a helpful section on bushfire season. There is just an awful lot of smoke and mirrors to get through first and the husband still doubts that it is possible to get a tomato crop through in our climate without a little non-organic intervention.
(Scribe; ISBN: 9781921372605)
First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.