This book has a lot of content and it's being added, extended and improved all of the time. I've decided that the book will never to 'finished' and so I need a way to indicate the status of the sections and I've decided to use the background colour for this purpose.
The first real chapter of this book explains our philosophy of life and how we've applied it to gardening. It's useful to skim through this chapter because it will help you to understand some, perhaps many, of the decisions we've taken. You might also find yourself in passionate disagreement with our philosophy, in which case this book might not be for you!
The next three chapters cover the basics of gardening. Looking after the soil, growing under cover and other useful techniques. I make no apologies for only providing a short introduction to these, focusing on where I have something 'new' and/or useful to say, because we don't do anything really unique here. Rather than plagiarise the work of others, where possible I just provide references to the most authoritative sources.
The next chapter briefly explains the way we translate the hundreds of varieties we grow into a set of meals to eat. At the heart of this approach is a set of meal families (soups, smoothies, salads, curries etc) that we want to have in our diet all year round and a set of sauces, herbs and other 'sprinkles' that we add to these core food families to make a meal.
At the heart of the book are the growing guide chapters. Each guide takes an ingredient type (salad leaves, spinaches, potatoes etc) and shows how we have them available year round. This is achieved by a combination of extending the season, using alternatives that suit different seasons and storing/preserving in different ways. These growing guides are the most important part of the book. In each guide I also link to many additional resources, like videos. I also provide links to authoritative external reference information, like the RHS growing guides.
Although we believe in eating fresh food where possible, we also store a lot of food, so we also cover how we do this. Sometimes stored food enriches the diet: winter squash and garlic, being perfect examples, sometimes it just makes life more convenient, eg frozen onions. We also make a lot of preserves and dehydrate a lot of herbs and fruit.
I then give a very brief description of the simple hand tools that really make a difference to the way we garden, harvest and preserve foods and then a more comprehensive chapter that describes the more complex products and technologies that we use.
Finally I explain how to make this book your own, by adapting it to your climate, soil type, budget. I also explain how to take copies of the book and databases to customise them for your own needs.
I end with a Frequently Asked Questions chapter where I capture questions that are not covered adequately by the book, I might answer these questions here initially and then over time expand or clarify the book to address them.
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