Five good reasons for ‘edible gardening’ by Mat Pember

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It took flipping through cute coffee table book ‘The Little Veggie Patch Co’ to learn that every eggplant contains a bit of nicotine, that a worm’s poo is 10 times as fertile as the garden waste it eats, and that the olive was the first tree to be cultivated. Gardeners-turned-authors, Fabian Capomolla and Mat Pember, present these tidbits and a host of handy tips on growing gardens in the smallest of spaces – from the best soil to plant particular veggies in to how to make a scarecrow – in a gorgeously presented book that’ll help readers turn even the smallest patch of land into a glorious garden, or create growing spaces even when earth is lacking like, say, in apartment living. Mat Pember suggests five rather great things about ‘edible gardening’ to Cream.

01.  Growing food is certainly helping bridge the generation gap. The traditional ‘roses, petunias, daisies and pot-o-colour’ gardeners are now talking the same language as the new wave ‘all the produce used at my café is grown within a 50 mile radius’ hipsters. At family gatherings you now have something to say to your grandparents other than “thank you” for the new socks and underpants.

02.  Playing loud music can now be justified as growing aid to your vegetables! Some believe that the bass and frequency of music can affect the migratory patterns of pollinators such as bees and birds; much like it can affect the door-to-door migratory pattern of your next door neighbour. Now when they come to complain of the racket, smokescreen them with talk of bass, frequency, pollination and vegetables all in the one well-thought out and well-rehearsed sentence.

03.  “Growing vegetables” in a community plot is apparently all the rage these days and many hint that there’s more to the euphemism to the new age gardener. In fact, it could well be code for growing things other than vegetables. And if that’s the case, who wouldn’t want to “grow vegetables”?

04.  Cooking for your beloved, or for someone that your are intently trying to impress, has always been a fool proof way of portraying yourself as thoughtful, cultured and generous in bed. Incorporating food that you have grown yourself raises the level of your game ten-fold. You now got game. 

05.  Don’t get me wrong; growing food isn’t all about meeting and interacting with members of your interested sex – it’s a meaningful hobby, rewarding and educating; it gets us back in tune with the seasonality of food and a more natural and sustainable style of living; and more than anything it elevates the sensory experience of food again, something that the homogeneity of supermarket produce has deprived. It’s just that I know how you people think, and these things scuttle under the radar sometimes.  

‘The Little Veggie Patch Co’ is published through Macmillan.