I’m a big fan of James Wong. You can’t help but admire his enthusiasm in putting his message across – and it’s always a great message!
With his latest project, ‘Homegrown Revolution’ he wants to encourage us to change our gardening and allotment habits. Out with the swede, cauliflower and spinach, and in with goji berries, electric daisies and cucamelons! His basic point is a good one… why struggle with crops that are difficult to grow, but cheap and readily available to buy, especially if the taste of the home-grown variety is no better than the shop-bought?
To make it into this new book, a plant has to be easy to grow in the Uk with no specialist equipment, high-yielding, low maintenance, and easy to source. Many of them have ‘double’ crops eg edible leaves and roots, and some are highly decorative. For instance, did you know that you can eat the young shoots of hostas, the tubers of dahlias, or the berries of fuschias? In fact, hostas are grown in japan as a food crop, and dahlias were first introduced to the UK as a food rather than an ornamental!
Now I don’t know about you, but this makes perfect sense to me! I have only a small space for growing fruit and veg, I’m not an expert gardener, and I don’t have masses of time, so I want a plant that is easy to grow, looks great, and can still end up on my plate!
I’m always recommending expanding the variety of plant-based foods in our diets, and I’m a great believer in the benefits of super-fresh homegrown produce, so a book like this is right up my street. In fact, I’ve got over 20 sticky labels poking out of my copy of the book marking new plants I want to try this year… unfortunately I don’t have space for them all so I’ll need to whittle them down to a short list… I’ll post regular photos and updates on my facebook if you want to follow my progress.
‘Homegrown Revolution’ is a beautiful book, with a whole page (or more) devoted to each plant, with lots of illustrations and photos, detailed growing guides, and even recipes. It covers a huge range of herbs, veg, and fruits of all shapes and sizes, most of which I’d never heard of before. They range from mashua (an incan nasturtium) through to huckleberries, mooli, quinoa and chop suey greens… there’s something for everybody here. James’ style is accessible, jargon-free, and incredibly practical, and the book is extremely easy and fun to read.
This is the time of year to plan what you’re going to grown over then next 10 months or so. If you don’t currently grow anything edible, then this is the year to start, and if you do, I reckon it’s worth trying something new – either way I highly recommend this excellent book.