Garden dreaming

It’s really too bad that Amelia is still dairy free as this recipe for Rice Pudding from the delicious Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall looks so good and surely the perfect comfort food. Having this awful cold means I am drawn to all things comfort. It’s too bad comfort always seems to mean a lot of cream, butter, cheese or milk. While Rice pudding is perhaps not a dish that we will be serving up around here any time soon anyway due to climbing Summer temperatures, it is worth keeping and mind, and worth blogging so you northern hemisphere folks can consider it.
We have been watching the latest DVD of the River Cottage series over the last week – River Cottage Forever. It arrived from the UK just in time for Christmas which was lucky as it meant we all had something to watch other than Dad’s massive Akira Kurosawa box set. Not that I am complaining because what a fine box set it is, but sometimes the perfect antidote to watching hours of peasants knocking samurais over the head with hoes is a good dose of two pommes filling cow intestines with pigs blood. Ha! Ok, so the gratuitous blood sausage incident was not my highlight of the series, but the rest of it is a treat.

So now I am feeling quite inspired to get into our new garden and start growing food. Realising that we won’t have room for a particularly large veggie garden let alone a hot house or an orchard (dream dream!), I have been checking out the various container and small space gardening books that are around. There is Jen’s kind suggestion of McGee and Stuckey’s Bountiful Container, and two which I found on You Grow Girl’s book review page – one which looks perfect called The Edible Container Garden. The review finishes with “Reading this book is like a daydream on your most inspired day. I recommend it as a motivator to get out there and do some gardening: the tone of the book is very pro-experimentation, pro-DIY and pro-creativity.” That sounds good. And the other is Urban Eden which looks pretty interesting but our new place is not really an urban space – but does have limited space and close neighbours are an issue and so on. Any suggestions?

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13 Responses

  1. I second Angela’s recommendation for the square foot gardening book.
    Some others that have unique ideas for container gardening are:

    Window Boxes: Indoors and Out, by James Cramer & Dean Johnson

    Herbal Remedy Gardens, by Dorie Byers

    And a helpful online forum dedicated to container gardening via GardenWeb

  2. My mother has been watching River Cottage for quite some time. It’s not really my cup of tea, but I was impressed by some ideas such as bees-wax sculptures.

  3. says:

    I just made a very fine rice pudding using coconut milk. No dairy. It was deeeelicious, and I highly recommend it (when the summer there has passed, as it involves stirring over the stove for some time).

  4. says:

    I’ve had a lot of success with 4×4 foot raised beds in my root-filled 15×15 foot urban backyard. I think the secret is in excellent compost and trellising.

  5. I highly recommend the book Square Foot Gardening. I have almost no yard myself, and I’m planning on trying this method for growing some family veggies this spring. I was thrilled to read that one of Mel’s square foot gardens can grow enough for a whole family, and the best part is it only needs an hour of tending a week!! Anyway, here’s his website:
    I’m done with doing row gardening!

  6. There’s a neat book called “Great Gardens for Kids” by Clare Matthews. Not alot of food gardening but very creative and fun landscaping.

  7. says:

    Man! I go away on holiday and you go and buy your house. And I miss out on all the excitement. Honestly!I jest, I am very pleased for you, and it sounds like a wonderful house. What a lovely way to start the new year. All best wishes and I hope you will be very happy there.

  8. For me it’s the nutmeg that make a rice pudding great, so replacing the milk with soya milk is still wonderful. Perfect comfort food in the middle of winter – or anytime really.
    Happy New Year and best wishes from Wales.

  9. Happy 2005 :OOh! Glad you liked the book suggestion! Also I came across this.
    Although you might have a little less space, the principles and techniques they explain are really good for limited-space gardens. All the best with your garden 😀
    ps. i get v jealous that asparagus grows so well in Oz – it just doesn’t survive here! But my onions and garlic are just coming up in their poly-tunnels, I can’t wait!
    ps I love the HFW programmes, but I have to watch them on my own as D is veggie and can’t get past the shooting.. fairysnuff!

  10. I have a copy of The Edible Container Garden and can’t recommend it enough. Another good book is Movable Harvests by Chuck and Barbara Crandall. Moveable Harvests has more info on pests and diseases, and soil mix recipes. The Edible Container Garden has a great section that tells whether a plant is suitable for containers, container planting depth, soil requirements, harvest time and so on. Yay gardening!

  11. says:

    We put in a little vegie patch this year and I think the key is lots of organic matter, good mulch and to grow things that are easy to grow and that you love to eat. We have tomatoes (apollo’s and cherry) which are just starting to come ripe, mignone lettuce which is just so crisp and delicious and just keeps growing after you pick it and howakase strawberries which have been a hit with the girls. We collect about a good cupped handfull a day and sit on the decking and eat them. Yummy. My only problem has been the rhubarb (I am a bit of a sucker for rhubarb crumble) which is just not “pinking” up. Back to the drawing board on that one. I really believe it is the simple things that you share with your kids that makes great childhood memories for them. Good luck, can’t wait to hear how it all goes. As another suggestion, have a look in the open garden scheme book because I remember a house in Northcote that had a pretty great vegie garden, complete with chook pen. Some of these homes have inspiring vegie gardens and the owners are always happy to share their ideas with you.

  12. says:

    I love love love river cottage forever.I also reccomend country living magazine [uk edition] available in most newsagents in oz which is very river cottagey,sort of crafty and helpful with growing vegtables etc.

  13. says:

    Claire – Look for any of the Australian books on permaculture for ideas (eg. Bill Mollison’s stuff). I have a friend who lives in a tiny house with a tiny garden in Coburg, and he grows just about everything he needs. Good luckKatrina