Occasionally I get sent books for review and recently I was sent Vegetables for the Irish Garden by Klaus Laitenberger. Now many of the books I get sent are triumphs of design over content – in other words lots of pretty pictures and hard info is thin on the ground. Not so with this book – it’s really good. So good, I wish I’d written it myself!
It’s well presented, enjoyable to read and chock full of good hard information. Although I’ve never met Mr Laitenberger, having read the book, I feel I know him a little and would love to spend a sunny afternoon chin-wagging with him in the garden. He knows his onions and everything else from Artichokes to Zucchini (as the Americans call courgettes)
He starts simply enough, going through the vegetables one by one, and for each vegetable he gives a little history, cultivation instructions, problems to watch for and occasionally titbits like a family recipe.
In the centre of the book there are a number of colour plates of the author and his family in their garden etc. The family that gardens together, stays together! Following this he covers all the basic gardening techniques from composting to equipment.
The only area that I would disagree with Klaus on is that the book is totally organic whereas I feel chemicals and artificial fertilisers have their uses at times in the garden. But being organic is no bad thing!
In conclusion, if you’re gardening in the wet west of the country this book will be as useful as it is in Ireland. If you’re in the dry east, well you could do a lot worse than giving it a go.
Vegetables: For the Irish Garden
First Fron Dirion Cauliflower
OK, it’s not the best cauliflower I’ve ever grown as I seriously underestimated how poor the soil was, but it’s the first one we’ve had since we moved. It’s overwintered and finally come good.
Hopefully the Pavillion I sowed recently will better this one, although it’s quite respectable.
Val had gone out when I discovered this beauty was ready, so I harvested it, trimmed the base and put it in a large mug (couldn’t find a vase). Popped it on the table for her return. Well, I know women like flowers and I’m a big softie really.
It was so good to eat as well, the last cauliflower we bought after my frozen cauliflowers ran out had hardly any flavour. I don’t care what anyone says, home grown always tastes better.
Our neighbour brought us a present of a cactus the other day. He grows them in his small greenhouse up on top of the hill. Now I’ve never been too successful with cacti, they survived but rarely flowered. Anyway, just look at this – beautiful. Click the photo for larger image