Same author-photographer, similar content but different publisher to last week’s book “Salads Year-Round”. This one is more encyclopaedic in range but certainly not in detail (there is not even an index at the back of the book which seems a major oversight), the writing is a little more personal and the photos are a little smaller and more illustrative rather than sumptuous. But it is another of the style of edible garden book we have come to expect in this country – encapsulated in the bold claim on the front cover: “self sufficient in no time”. Yes folks, you too can be self sufficient in fruit and veg with next to no experience and very little effort – it is all so easy peasy. Just buy these books that NZ publishers keep churning out for you. A low grade, lightweight cover, allied to the lack of index, means that this one was clearly never destined for longevity on the gardening bookshelf.
A New Zealand Guide to Growing Year Round by Dennis Greville (Hyndman Publishing; ISBN: 1877382 68X) reviewed by Abbie Jury.
First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.
The best thing about this book is the photography. It is sumptuous. The same cannot be said for the text, despite the author being vastly experienced and presumably knowledgeable. It does not show. You too can grow salad ingredients all year round. The recommended crops range freely and randomly from traditional lettuce and radish, across Europe (blood orange and bocconcini), through the Middle East (pomegranates and figs) and Asia (bamboo shoots, Vietnamese mint and galangal). Throw in some edible flowers like heartsease pansies and calendula and you have global salads, rounded out with the mandatory recipes. But it claims to be a planting guide. The growing information is perfunctory at best, but often woefully inadequate and sometimes entirely absent. There is no indication whatever of the range of climatic conditions we have in this country. You could not tell from this book whether you can expect to grow blood oranges in Invercargill or grapes and aubergines in Turangi. Nor will you learn anything about caring for the crop as it grows, let alone pests and diseases.
This is candyfloss gardening for the Christmas market. Leave it on the booksellers’ shelves. It should be remaindered on Boxing Day and disappear without a trace by New Year.
Salads Year-Round. A Planting Guide by Dennis Greville (New Holland; ISBN: 978 1 86966 3285) reviewed by Abbie Jury.