3 gardening “books for cooks”

It is very refreshing indeed to see the emergence this year of 3 gardening books that focus on the ultimate purpose of today’s home-grown produce…taste and flavour.

The fall-out from WWII cast a very long shadow over grow-your-own gardening. The ‘dig for victory’ approach has been with us too long, strangling the hope out of any novice who failed to grow “mine’s-bigger-than-yours”, high-yield, blemish-free crops. Only to dump them at the kitchen door for ‘her indoors’ to boil any remaining life out of them.

Peter goes to the allotment... for the next 50 years

from Patsy’s Reflections – a WWII “Dig for Victory” cook book

Gardening books have improved over the last decade with no-dig, square-foot and organic methods now considered the norm by younger gardeners, rather than weird or hippy. But it’s still taken a long time for them to link up with the end game… organic growing and healthy cooking, for pleasure.

So, at last! The focus with these three books is not “grow the biggest onion you can to feed a family of 6 for a week, and take no prisoners!”. Now, largely due to the foodie movement, there is a new spirit in gardening books.

As they say,



Grow for Flavour by James Wong

For any modern-minded urban gardener, this book will be a breath of fresh air.  Thoroughly enjoyable and easy to read, loads of fascinating facts, new things to grow and new ways to grow them.

I, personally, love this book.



The New Kitchen Garden by Mark Diacono

A more traditionally styled book, but with as many interesting and different new crops to try. Again, it’s all about growing what you like and can’t get readily in the shops. A book all about pleasure, and enjoying life.

I love this one too.


Kew on a Plate by Raymond Blanc

Designed to compliment the lovely BBC series aired earlier in the year, this book is groaning with veggie-inspired delights. I have to admit that my style is more cobbled together rather than planned in advance (see my “random ingredients” challenges), and this book is definitely a bit more chef-y than the other two. However, the pictures have me salivating… I mean, how could you not love Raymond Blanc?

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