Book Reviews: Rekha's Kitchen Garden by Rekha Mistry and Of Cockroaches and Crickets by Frank Nischk

It is the time of year when the gardening is stirring into a faster mode of being.  The soil will be warming up and insects are on the move.  It seems a good time to review these two new books.

I have not paid for these books and I have not been paid to write these reviews.  My words and opinions are completely my own.

Rekha's Kitchen Garden by Rekha Mistry
This new book from Rekha Mistry is an excellent addition to any vegetable gardener's bookshelf, whether you are a beginner or someone with experience I think it will add value.  I will suggest it will not spend a lot of time on the bookshelf as it is such a useful book.

Rekha is an organic gardener and she describes her approach in a really straight forward and simple way.  Rekha comes across as a very organised person; she explains that she does not keep copious notes on what she is doing in the garden but soon realised that the best way of deciding where to plant was to work out when something was harvested and work back from that point.  When I first read this I admit I could not quite get my head around it, I tend to work on what needs sowing and planting first and then work it out as I go along.  Obviously there is crop rotation to figure in too so I do know which sort of veg will go where.  When I thought more about working out what is cropping first and therefore opening gaps first or staying in longer this started to make sense.  Thankfully Rekha gives us a 'monthly task in my plot' schedule to easily follow her principles.

The books then divides into the seasons: what and how to sow, plant, care for and harvest.  Rekha talks us through 40 different crops to grow.  The book is not just for the UK market I would suggest as it talks about zucchini and cilantro, which are not names I tend to use but I do know what they are.

and I agree with Rekha that Brussel Sprouts are a vegetable of division.  I am still not minded to try growing them though, saying that modern brussels are 'sweeter' sounds like the sort of thing my mum used to say to make me try eating them......

This is an excellent book, I love how it is written and it is full of inspiring photographs to convince you to grow your own.  I can happily recommend it.

Rekha's Kitchen Garden by Rekha Mistry is published by DK Books

Of Cockroaches and Crickets by Frank Nischk
This is a brilliant little book, full of more information and charm than its subject matter may indicate.  Frank Nischk is an entomologist and filmmaker and accidentally ended up studying cockroaches, he was meant to be studying hummingbirds but when that fell through he started to fall in love with cockroaches instead (as you do).  Frank tells us that Blatella germanica - the German cockroach - is not thought to live in the wild any more, but lives with us in our homes.  They like warm moist environments so our modern heated homes are perfect for them.  The German cockroah was named by Carl Linnaeus, Frank tells us that no one knows why he called it German.

After spending some time talking to us about cockroaches, including a consideration of what good do they do, Frank then jets off to Ecuador in pursuit of crickets.  Frank takes us on a literal journey, exploring the jungles and describing beautifully and careful the insects he meets on the way, including some very bitey ants.  

I really enjoyed this book, more (I confess) than I expected to.  Frank writes in a very accessible way and whilst his knowledge is evident, this is not a scientific tome, it is a very readable enjoyable book.  If you have an interest in insects or want to know more about them then this is a great addition to your book pile.

Of cockroaches and crickets by Frank Nischk is published by Greystone Books

Take care and be kind.

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  1. They both sound like interesting books, and I'll check into them. (Cockroaches are difficult for me to love, but I'll try. ;-) )Thanks!


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