Thursday, 9 December 2010

A shiny new Gardening book what I love :)

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).
The last section is maybe more what we are used to in our usual gardening books. Lists of family names, who belongs where, what temperature is best for germination, crop rotation, and what soil each veggie prefers etc. But even here, the fun element comes into play; compost and manure (which all allotmenteers have a dubious lust for) are called 'aphrodisics', working that soil is 'bed making and TLC' then we keep the 'stalkers' at bay and welcome the nice helpful insects. Don't get me wrong, the light-hearted style belies sound knowledge essential for the first timer and equally helpful for anyone (everyone) who needs a little refresher.

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.
Amazon link - here


  1. You've made it sound really enticing, Carrie. What a cute idea the author had, to view the garden that way. :)

  2. Sounds like a great read and a different fun way of presenting the topic.

  3. Carrie girl you make me want to run out and get this book ! It sounds wonderful .. I wonder if they have it at our Chapters store .. hum .. gives me an excuse to go in and investigate? ;-)
    Very nice review !

  4. It's really not something I thought I would ever do but I guess I thought it would be fun. In fact I wasn't thinking that it would be that good - way would a publisher contact little old me and give me a free copy just to hear my opinion but it really is great!
    Love you guys so much, funny - been thinking about you today; thinking about the people that the blogging world has brought to my life and how wonderful this internet lark can be xx

  5. ALWAYS enjoy your blog....this book sound wonderful. Might try to order it for a friend.

  6. I received a copy of this book too! I am just about to write a review as well.

  7. That sounds, and looks, like my kind of book! Flighty xx

  8. Carrie,

    I hate to confess, but I'm not a gardener. However, after reading your delightful review of this book...I really, really want to read it!

    It's sounds like it would be fun to read regardless of whether or not your hands are familiar with the "aphrodisiacs" of the gardener:~)

    I also love the author's name...what a great name. I will look for this as a Santa gift to myself!

    Thank you:~)

  9. Hey this is a great response - I should maybe be paid for book reviewing! :) Everyone - try to be good and maybe Santa will bring a copy x


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