Thursday, 17 March 2016

Book review - Living on One Acre or Less by Sally Morgan

I was invited to attend the launch of Sally Morgan's new book 'Living on One Acre or Less' published by Green Books.  The book was launched at the Edible Garden Show, which was an apt venue to choose.
It is really difficult to review a book like this without referring to Tom and Barbara from The Good Life, well it is is you are me anyway, as that series was hugely influential in making a lot of people think about being self-sufficient.  Yes it was not hugely realistic but it planted an idea.  I have to also hold my hand up and say that in the Tom and Barbara scheme of things, I am a Margot.  I grow more flowers than vegetables and my vegetable growing is not that proficient.  I grow easy stuff that I like to eat, its a principle that works for me.  So you might wonder what could this book bring to me.  Well quite a lot as it is full of incredibly practical advice.

The book starts by explaining how to use the book, it takes you through planning your plot, which is very important as that helps you make the full use from the space that you have.  There is also a chapter on soil.  At the launch of the book Sally talked about the importance of soil and that if you do not get that right then you seriously jeopardise any chance of long term success so we are talked through the importance of composting and crop rotation.  The book then moves into growing produce and finally into keeping livestock.  It is an unglamorous, realistic view of keeping livestock, this is particularly demonstrated in the section on keeping bees.  I say this as I would never dream of keeping a goat or a pig, but I sometimes harbour thoughts about keeping bees.  I have suspected it is not as straightforward as I would like to think and Sally confirms this in her book.  This is good and useful information as the romantic thinkers like myself need to be encouraged to think about what such things really entail.

The growing produce section is particularly useful.  Sally talks us through extending the seasons and companion planting.  There is also a very interesting section on forest gardening and how to use every part of your garden for food including the hedges.

I enjoyed reading the book and I learned a lot.  I will remain a Margot but I know more now about the practical side of growing food and I might even get a little more adventurous.  If you are interested in making the most from your edible plot then this book is for you.  It is written from experience and good sound knowledge.  I can fully recommend it.

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