A while back when we were firmly ensconced at Mamma G's house I was very fortunate to receive a copy of a new gardening book, way before it's publication here. Asked for my humble opinion of the tome in return for a copy to keep, I said 'well, count me in, my good man!' Only today did I learn that this very publication has been released early (not like a crazy criminal more like a happy gift onto the world) and thus my review must be posted forthwith :)
Soil Mates is a delightful book even just to look at and hold. The cover has a lovely texture that feels just like the soft burlap it intimates, the paper is thick and the stunning layout on alternating red, yellow and green pages is lovely. Never mind the beautiful full page illustrations (over 20) that make you to tear the book apart so you can frame them (note to self - maybe I should do that and then buy another copy to actually use as a reference).
This is a book that is more about sharing knowledge than talking down to you.The intimate and fun style is infectious; we're talking about Matchmaking not merely of 'companion planting'. There are 20 'Love Matches' with detail about how and where to plant the seeds/seedlings, giving space for each plant, a fab table with all their foibles - their 'turn ons', 'turn offs' how 'needy' they are, any 'stalkers' and the drama of 'love triangles'. It is written like a mother dropping the children off for a sleep over, ahaha.
In fact, though it does teach us and teaches well I think, it proves that veggie gardening is not just for stuffy people but those who love a giggle as much as the next person, and darn it, it helps me to remember facts when I think of how ' Beet - with her bright disposition and cheery colour - just lets Mint roam. She knows he'll always be there when she needs him'. To use a modern term - this is a book about' friends with benefits' *blush* Plus as we all know organic is the way to go, and this book is all about the organic. It is easy to see that it is written by a fellow lottie holder who has an appreciation for the best in horticulture, the best for the kitchen table.
But not only is there info on the matches, the foibles and details on the veggies (their healthy goodness and how to grow them) but there are recipes. Easy recipes that you will want to try, with the main ingredients being the lovers themselves and a whole load of other things you'll either have to hand already or have no trouble getting at the supermarket. For once I am sitting with a gardening book that makes me want to grow and cook (I don't cook - ever).
You know I didn't want to love this book so much - I sound so sycophantic and I don't generally do things like this. My blog is about my thoughts and my allotment and my mental health etc. But I love this book and think it would make for a fabulous Christmas present or indeed a gift for yourself once the mayhem of looking after everyone else's needs is over (ie Boxing day). 128 pages all for you to curl up with and eat the last of the chocolates and mince pies - you know you deserve it :)
'Soil Mates' is written by Sarah Alway and is published by Quirk Books.