The Alternative Kitchen Garden – Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Alternative Kitchen Garden
An A-Z
by Emma Cooper
Published by Permanent Publications
Paperback 376 pages 205mm x 160mm
190 color photographs
ISBN: 978-1-85623-046-9
Price: GBP 14.95

The Alternative Kitchen Garden is a different kind of gardening A-Z, specifically aimed at the kitchen garden, and here of one that is organic, environmentally sustainable, resilient and a means of producing food for the table.

The author, Emma Cooper, a self-confessed 'cyber-geek', began to document the transformation of her 'ropey old lawn with potholes and brambles' into a fertile and abundant permaculture plot – something that this writer still has to accomplish – via internet radio and a popular blog site.

The book is basically a collection of her eight years of podcasting and blogging that is illustrated with beautiful color photographs and arranged in an easily usable alphabetical order, like an encyclopedia of sorts. This makes this book a very useful reference book, a practical guide and a gardening book that makes a lovely read that you can just dip in and out and read for fun even.

Covering subjects as diverse as growing achocha (a lost Inca crop) to zucchinis the author style is light and written in a friendly and easy manner which is, at the same time, informative and based on personal experience. It is as if you be actually sitting in the garden chatting face to face with her as she shares her knowledge and experience. And this is especially so when she veers off into not directly garden related tangents and subjects such as osteopathy and freecycling, for instance.

This is certainly a book that anyone thinking of starting a kitchen garden for food production should consider buying and owning. I certainly can see myself making good use of this book, especially for the next growing seasons.

© 2009