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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Thrifty Gardening by Victoria Country Women’s Association


The sub-heading of this chunky wee book which will become a gardener’s greatest friend is: Money saving tips and know-how for a flourishing garden. And it delivers on this promise manifold.


Inside you’ll find tips on creating edible and ornamental gardens; seasonal planting guides; ways to grow from seed, and recipes for cooking with your garden bounty.


You’ll find some wonderful (natural) ways to deal with common pests - such as this absolute cracker about rats: rates love parsley and coriander, but hate mint. The book suggests painting vegetable storage boxes with a wash of infused mint and also placing a pot of mint nearby. Or what about dealing with an infestation of European wasps? You’ll find an answer here, which uses common household ingredients.


That’s the loveliest thing about this book: it’s chokka with tried and tested tips from real people. You can open any page at random and find some gem of an idea for improving the way you garden.


I loved opening up at a chapter entitled Good Bugs in the Garden and finding numerous clever ways to improve my garden’s biodiversity. I then randomly selected another page, this time Uses for Lemon and Citrus. You simply cannot go wrong with this book. As a final example of my own happenstance exploration, I also found some great ideas for summer gardening.


The recipes are also absolute doozies. Anyone who has every attended a CWA bake sale will no doubt attest to the enviable skill-set on display. Now you can up your own game with this suite of fabulous recipes which use garden produce. Lemon Loaf or Slice, anyone? What about Green Tomato Sauce? Or Silverbeet Impossible Pie - which takes this most abundant garden ingredient and elevates to a pie you can proudly serve unexpected guests with ease. I tried this simple trick and it really worked, upgrading an old favourite to a new one with the addition of one simple ingredient.


I have no doubt that anyone who is a keen gardener, or anyone who hopes to become one will find a great deal of inspiration here. Its compact size also makes it ideal as a stocking filler or Secret Santa surprise that will be especially welcome.


Reviewer: Peta Stavelli

Allen & Unwin


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