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Gardening to Eat (Hardback)

Connecting People and Plants

Colour Books Hobbies & Lifestyle > Gardening Hobbies & Lifestyle > Nature Hobbies & Lifestyle > Outdoors P&S History > Food & Drink Photographic Books

By Becky Dickinson
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 168
Illustrations: 100 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781526757203
Published: 16th March 2021


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Embrace a plant-based lifestyle all the way from seed to plate. This inspiring and informative book takes the mystery out of gardening and reveals how to grow an array of fruits and vegetables using simple, organic techniques.

Packed with fresh ideas for turning home-grown produce into delicious, nutritious meals, you'll find heaps of no-nonsense recipes created for real people with busy lives and healthy appetites. No fads, no fuss, no fancy ingredients, just real, honest, ethical food.

With a passion for connecting people and plants, Gardening to Eat brings the garden into the kitchen. For people who love food and love to know where it's come from.

There’s a gorgeously colourful jacket on this hard backed book by White Owl.
Dickinson opens with reasons why growing your own food is a great option nowadays. Her upbeat tone add to the reasons, employing sentences like, ‘The fact that we can eat whatever we want, whenever we want, doesn’t mean we should – even if it’s trending on Instagram’ made me keep reading.
Dickinson makes you think about the environment, climate change, and nutrition, without forcing it down your throat (pun intended) using history, wildlife and mental health to back it all up. That’s one quarter of the book, three-quarters is given over to delicious recipes, food tips, and handy, helpful hints.
If you enjoying pottering about in the garden, love eating what you make, and feel strongly about our planet, this book definitely ought to be on your kitchen cookbook shelf.

For the Love of Books

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I absolutely loved reading this one! No fancy ingredients. Just real, nourishing food. The book is well structured and easy to navigate.

NetGalley, Alina Melinda

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Learn to love eating a plant based diet from food you've grown yourself! A great guide for the beginning gardener who wants to live a plant based diet. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read and reviewed it on Netgalley and ended up buying the hard copy!!!

NetGalley, Casey Thomas

I am hooked on Gardening to Eat – every recipe is brilliant, simple and tasty.

Read the full review here

Annabel and Grace

As featured in

Morning Star

Featured in

The Buzz- The Invertebrate Conservation Trust - Summer 2021

I think most people who grow vegetables are always interested in new ways to cook with them. This book is special as not only does it give you good recipes to try, it also tells you how to grow them.

Becky tells us in the book why we should grow food and the benefits for us and the environment of doing so. For many people the connection with the natural world has been lost. Vegetables are what you buy from a supermarket as it is quick and easy to do so. They may not have someone in their family to pass down gardening tips, they may not have outdoor space or not a lot of space and, quite frankly, the thought of growing food can feel a bit mystical. This book helps you through all this, Becky gently leads us through overcoming barriers to gardening and deciding what and where to grow them.

This book covers all you might need to know about vegetable growing, I was very impressed by how much information it contained and how accessibly it has been written.

Each vegetable mentioned is graded by its Strengths and Weaknesses, Conditions needed, whether it can be grown in a container and an added Top Tip. I loved this approach. I loved that in the Beetroot section one of the strengths is that it will turn your wee pink. This made me laugh and also nod in recognition. For peas the weakness is that the yield can be small for the space required. This is true and if space is limited you may decide to prioritise something more productive. If you have the space though, the strength listed is indeed true - the taste!

The recipes are very good. I shall be making 'Brazilian inspired sweetcorn and black bean stew' without a doubt. I am growing perpectual spinach this year for the first time so 'Superfast spinach, chickpea and peanut butter curry' is now on my list to try.

I like that the book has those shiny pages that allow for a certain amount of splashage when cooking (is that just me who splashes food on the cook book whilst cooking?).

This is a great book, worthy of buying for yourself or for the veg gardener in your life.

Read the full review here

Blackberry Garden

This inspiring book is packed with fresh ideas for turning home grown produce in to delicious, nutritious meal.The author takes fruit and veg, whether it's cauliflower, strawberries, spinach or peas, gives a comprehensive outline of how and when to plant and pick them and complements this with recipes, such as pea and feta parcels, or cauliflower and spinach curry.
Gardening to Eat brings the garden into the kitchen for people who love food and also enjoy finding out where it's come from.

Countryside Magazine September edition

Featured in

Allotment & Leisure Gardener - Issue 3, 2021. The membership magazine for the National Allotment Society

A great book for a beginner that covers all the bases and even includes some recipes. I loved that it had some colour photographs too.

NetGalley, glittergirl Smith

The first sentence in the introduction says it all: “What better reason to garden, than to eat?” In my own limited experience, it’s usually because it all seems a bit of a mystery, but writer Becky from Bideford offers reassurance and enthusiasm to make anyone with a few containers in a yard reach for a trowel. Sun-warmed strawberries, tomatoes from the vine – it sounds irresistible and very appealing. Now the proud owner of a planter for spinach, I kept reading and found Becky’s comments on the health benefits of gardening to eat very positive. There’s a sense of empathy for amateurs that comes across in the early pages, leading tantalisingly to the ready-to-pick produce. She describes Gardener’s Gazpacho as a recipe for bottled sunshine. Place the ingredients in a blender, chill (you and the soup) and it’s bliss in a bowl garnished with cucumber and basil.

Devon Life, Summer Special 2021 - reviewed by books editor Annette Shaw

A superbly illustrated book crammed with recipes, and although there's no index, it doesn't really matter because this is the kind of book you like to wander through, encountering the recipes as you go. In any case, you can use a piece of paper to bookmark anything of interest you may find...

Books Monthly

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A very useful, easy to read and informative book about vegetables and other plants you can use cooking.
It's well written, full of ideas and hints.
I strongly recommend if you need a reference guide or you are a beginner.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

This book is an informative, easy to read guide to growing and enjoying your own vegetables. Includes recipe suggestions to make the most of your crop once its grown. The chatty, friendly style would inspire any novice gardener to have a go at growing there own food.

NetGalley, Lisa Jung

Why else would you garden if it’s not to eat? No nonsense guide to grow vegetables and fruit from the dirt and the journey to your plate. Contains helpful information on why you should garden for yourself so you can obtain the benefits. Four stars!

NetGalley, Johanna Sawyer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I liked the no-nonsense logical layout of the book. Beginning with an exposition about why to grow food, what the benefits can be, the payoff in terms of mental and physical health, the benefits locally and globally, the author moves along to a short (and very encouraging!) very basic gardening how-to tutorial.

The second section of the book (and the lion's share of the content) is given over to chapter by chapter treatment of individual veggies, resources, varieties, how-to-grow info, and a selection of recipes using the harvest. All of the "big name" veggies are of course represented: tomatoes, peppers, cole crops, sweetcorn, onions and beans of many types... but I also appreciate that the author also has included many overlooked crops which might not immediately suggest themselves to beginning gardeners: blackcurrants, blueberries, chard, and rhubarb as an example.

The recipes are meat-free, varied and simple and interesting and allow the tastes of the vegetables to shine through on their own. There's a lovely traditional gazpacho, but also a rather unexpectedly adventuresome beetroot burger recipe. Recipe ingredients are provided in standard metric measures (yay!) and should be available at well stocked grocers. Nutritional information is not provided. The photography throughout is gorgeous - clear, colourful, and appealing. The author's style is very upbeat and positive and a lot of fun to read.

Five stars. This is a beautifully made garden-to-table book which will certainly get readers' fingers itching to get started. I would recommend it for home gardeners, public or school library acquisition, allotment garden associations' lending libraries, gardening clubs, and similar groups.

NetGalley, Annie Buchanan

There are so many reasons to grow your own vegetables and Becky Dickinson discusses them including personal gratification and health, fabulous flavour, environment and ecology. She also allays any fears by giving reasons why people don't do it and refuting them. It is also very important to know what will grow under your conditions and to adjust expectations. My gardening zone is a 2a, one of the coldest on the planet with only 80-90 frost-free days a year. If I can grow many vegetables, anyone can! There are obviously many I can't but you make due with what you have.

Other focuses of the book include natural pest control (if only we had hedgehogs here!), crop rotation (this really works!), planting and harvesting. I really like that many tried and true seed varieties are included, removing guesswork. And then there are lots of recipes using said produce. There is information on particular fruits, too, such as blueberries. At the beginning of many fruit and vegetable discussion is a detailed little blurb about strengths, weaknesses, conditions and other tips (i.e. sowing and harvesting). You will learn things such as chitting, a word I had completely forgotten!

Amongst the recipes I plan to make are Chard and Potato Gratin, Slightly Spiced Parsnip Crisps, Pea and Ricotta Tagliatelle and Next Level Potato Salad with Caramelized Red Onions (which I am making tonight).

This is an inspiring book which addresses simple gardening questions which is excellent preparation for the upcoming growing season!

NetGalley, Brenda Carleton

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It is well thought out, informative, and I love that there are recipes in it to use the plants they are talking about. If I were in Britain, this would be a go-to book for me. The author makes the information accessible for your typical backyard gardener. Each plant is described in detail with tips on growing it for use. Plants are accompanied by pictures, as are the recipes. From soil prep to harvest to consumption, this book covers it all. It should be a must-have on the shelf of every British gardener.

NetGalley, Michelle Bishop

A goal I have is to some day have a huge thriving garden, so when I saw this book, I was really excited to read it.

I love that this book is based not only on a plant based lifestyle, but also talks about why and how to grow your own food! I loved all of the gardening tips in this one, and will definitely be trying them out. I loved that the book was broken down by eat fruit or vegetable. It then showed tips and information about growing that particular thing and followed with recipes.

I would recommend this cookbook to anyone who loves to cook with fresh produce. Even if you decide a garden isn’t for you, these recipes would be awesome to use with a local CSA box as well.

NetGalley, Samantha Juliano

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a very well written and comprehensive, but not textbook dry, book on vegetable gardening. I have gardened over thirty years and found the information to be both sound and practical, with many tips not often given, such as “puddling in” transplants. I also like that the author included specific recipes after each vegetable growing guide section. The photographs are beautiful and make me want to rush out and start planting. I highly recommend this book.

NetGalley, Maggie Teachout

I am quite a keen allotmenteer ( in my first couple of years of growing) and I found this to be a really concise, straight forward guided to growing high yielding fruits and vegetables. For each of the fruits and vegetables, there is useful information about possible issues the plant can face, popular varieties, nutrients the plants need... Overall, a brilliant guide to gardening, with some great recipes to try.

NetGalley, Helen Groom

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I am lucky enough to have a small garden, even though I'm in a very urban area, and one of my goals this year is to make use of it, growing my own produce. Let's see... I think this book will be a lifeline for me!
I want to grow fresh food to connect more with nature, to enjoy the process, as well as to know there are no nasties in my veg.
As I'm not a confident gardener I needed some guidance, and this is a great book for that.

NetGalley, Katie Smith

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Gardening to Eat is a charming, informative book. It starts by teaching us about various types of gardens, organic gardening, composting, companion planting, crop rotation and pest control. But you won’t feel overwhelmed, I promise. This isn’t a textbook – it’s like a favorite aunt is visiting from the country, and over a cup of tea and cookies, she shares the wisdom of her years with you.

I’ve grown large vegetable gardens for decades, and thought I knew just about everything. But did I know that baking broken eggshells will make the edges sharper for repelling slugs? No, I didn’t. Have I heard ‘weeds’ and ‘blow torch’ mentioned in the same sentence before? No, I haven’t. I give Auntie a few more cookies and encourage her to keep talking. We chat about pests and weeds, and I‘m eager to start planning out my garden.

Then suddenly she exclaims, ‘beans!’ and starts telling me their strengths and weaknesses, what conditions beans like, and whether they can grow in containers (yes!). She also gives me a ‘top tip’ about successional sowings. There’s many types of beans to choose from and different ways to plant them, so Auntie makes sure I understand everything.

Then, she reaches for her purse, pulls out a stack of recipe cards, and hands one to me with a smile. Thai Green Bean Curry sounds delicious. The recipe is written in an easy to follow, friendly manner. I’m handed another card. Spice and Easy Five-a-Day Rice. ‘Good for using up leftovers’, she tells me, and then she announces, ‘beetroot!’

Soon I’m as enraptured with beetroot as I was with beans. She guides me through the learning process once again. As she hands me recipes for Beetroot Burgers with Horseradish Sauce and Beetroot Dahl, I start to wonder if she’d like to live in my guest room forever.

We keep discussing vegetables in alphabetical order, right on through tomatoes, until Auntie has given me all of her recipe cards. I think she’s happy her accumulated knowledge has been passed on. I wish I’d met Auntie when I was younger and just learning about gardening. I hope you’ll invite her for a visit and a chat. Be sure to bake some cookies.

NetGalley, Lori Holuta

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Well why didn’t anyone any think of combining a gardening book of what you should grow and how...with delicious recipes on what to do with the veggies you have grown before !! What a great idea! And the recipes are so yummy it will be hard to pick what to plant next year!

NetGalley, Kamila Bouvier

This is nice advice for how to grow a wide variety of vegetables, with a few recipes provided for each. I appreciated that each vegetable profiled had lists of what was challenging and what was easy about it, with recommended varieties. The author is based in the UK and so I had to extrapolate a bit for my MN garden, but I still picked up some nice tips and inspiration for next year's garden.

NetGalley, Alicia Bayer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I'm an avid home gardener, but far from an expert, so I'm always on the hunt for inspiration to make my plant adventures better. Becky Dickinson's Gardening to Eat is a lovely "farm to table" guide that gives not only helpful tips for growing a variety of fruits and vegetables, but also includes recipes for each as well. And that cover--well, it's just delicious.

I really liked the organic nature of this book as well; I garden without the use of any chemicals, so it's nice to know that I'm on the right track with what I'm doing there.

This is a great book for any amateur gardener and I'd highly recommend it for your shelves. Not only will it will make a nice compact little cookbook (it's a British publication, so I'll have to do some measurement alterations), but also a handy guide for when I need a gentle reminder when and how to plant certain crops.

NetGalley, Michelle Fohlin

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Gardening to Eat by Becky Dickinson is such a helpful book for home gardeners who want to eat healthy. Part One talks about the basics of organic gardening. Part Two, Grow and Eat, is broken down by type of vegetable or fruit, and tells you how to plant it, grow it organically, and keep pests away, and then follows it up with recipes. For example, after walking the reader through the process of growing green beans, a recipe is immediately provided for Thai green bean curry. After the process of planting, growing, and protecting blueberries, recipes for Yogurt and Blueberry pancakes and blueberry cheesecake are provided. Seed to plate instructions for tomatoes, garlic, kale, leeks, onions, carrots, and a lot more are provided in this book.

I love the way this book is organized and is geared towards healthy growing and eating. From seed to plate, everything you need for healthy family gardening and eating is right here.

NetGalley, Bonnie DeMoss

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of allotments and community gardens and the book shows how easy it is to garden – even if you have a black thumb as I do. There are some great concrete ideas in here on how to get food that you grew into your tummy - of course, you cannot grow everything in every garden depending upon where you live, but if you buy the ingredients at the local greengrocer, you can still enjoy them as the recipes are well written and understandable by cooks of all levels and the photos make the food very appealing to myself and other lovers of food out there. Even if you don’t grow your food, these recipes will be of great use to you.

NetGalley, Janet Pole Cousineau

About Becky Dickinson

Becky Dickinson is a freelance journalist and author who writes for national newspapers and magazines. She has written a number of children's educational books and is the author of How to Grow and Eat Your own Super Foods. She is passionate about the benefits of gardening for mental and physical well-being and about encouraging people of all ages to grow some of their own food.
You can find Becky on Instagram and Facebook @welliesinthekitchen
She lives in Devon with her partner and three children and an army of slugs she is determined to defeat.

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