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Grow Your Own Eat Your Own by Bob Flowerdew -Garden Book Review

A few days after Bulb by Anna Pavord arrived in the mail for me to review I got a copy of Grow Your Own Eat Your Own by Bob Flowerdew. While flipping through the pages I was charmed by the photography, design of the book and food styling for the recipes. Yes, I judge books by their cover and the whole look of the book is a bit of a shock for someone accustomed to the antiseptic (in a good way) design of books and magazines by Martha Stewart or Organic Gardening magazine. While they contain good information and are aesthetically pleasing, it sometimes bothers me to see hand models with perfectly manicured fingernails and oxford shirts in gardening publications. Where was I? Oh, yes.

Everything about the garden (farm?) that's pictured in this book would probably give Martha Stewart a heart attack. An old garden gate leaning against a pile of unidentifiable junk, strawberries growing in tire planters, a backyard vineyard planted in white buckets, missing windowpanes, a ladder leaned against the grape arbor that leans against a dilapidated shed. All of these beautifully flawed vignettes would probably be cropped out of photos or not show at all in most garden books and magazines. In Grow Your Own Eat Your Own the largest photos are dedicated to the chaos of a real garden, one that isn't concerned about the way it looks because the purpose of the garden is to grow fresh organic crops.

Who is Grow Your Own Eat Your Own for?

Gardeners and the latest urban and backyard agriculture enthusiasts. People interested in a sustainable way of life where they're connected to the food they're putting on their table. While you can find many books about growing your own food they only guide you to a certain point. What do you do with the crop you grow so much of you don't know what to do with besides unloading it on your friends and family? And what to do with that crop that doesn't yield you enough to share with your friends and family? How do you keep all of that fresh produce, fresh?

Not many gardening books give you practical advice such as; preserving, canning, juicing or give recipes that make the most of the crops your grow, Grow Your Own Eat Your Own does. What I like the most about the ideas for preserving and recipes is that it doesn't look like you need fancy kitchen gadgets and appliances to make the dishes, preserves and deserts suggested.

After you've picked out all of the vegetables and fruit trees you want to grow in your garden pick up a copy of Grow Your Own Eat Your Own so you know how to preserve and produce your grew in your garden.

I wasn't familiar with Bob Flowerdew before I received a copy of this book, but the book jacket informs me that he is "Britain and Europe's leading organic gardener." With a surname like Flowerdew it probably shouldn't have come as a surprise, but it did. Other books by Mr. Flowerdew of interest to gardeners and backyard farmers include: Bob Flowerdew's Organic Bible, The No-Work Garden and The Gourmet Gardener.

You can read the writeup I did for Bulb by Anna Pavord on my Chicago Garden blog


  1. Wait, is this guy's surname seriously Flowerdew? Surely it's a nom de plume?? I like books with "real" models! :)

  2. Looks like a valuable book. It's hard to resist purchasing more books... Have a Wonderful Christmas! :-)

  3. @Monica,

    I Googled Bob Flowerdew and his Wiki page doesn't say he was born with a different name. Although, given the age of the gentleman and the length of the ponytail I did wonder if it was a name picked up during the 60s. :0)

    @Shady Gardener,
    Don't resist give into the garden book buying urges. :0)

  4. Looks like a wonderful book MBT, and one I'd like to have in my growing gardening library. I'm glad to have held off spending an Amazon gift certificate received a couple weeks ago. Now I know what to do with it!

  5. YUMMMO... I totally want to make that pie! THank you for sharing MR. Thumb. You are truly one of my FAVORITES for 2009! Excited to see what 2010 will bring in your garden.

  6. @Garden Girl,

    After seeing your posts on your veggies garden, I'd be willing to loan the book to you in exchange for a bit of summer in a jar. Think about it, you could use your cert for something else on your list.

    That's such a nice thing to say. Thanks a lot. Has been nice getting to know you these past couple of months.

  7. I think we've talked before on Twitter about the perfect hand models in gardening books and magazines. This sounds like the kind of book I'd really enjoy -- I'll have to keep my eye out for it.

  8. I have several of Bob Flowerdew's books, and like them a lot. He writes with passion and clarity, and that's always welcome.
    Happy Christmas to you, MBT, and all the best for a great new year.

  9. Anonymous8:30 PM

    I have so many gardening books layin around here that I'll never get all of them read. I'm even tryin to write one myself! GYOEYO sounds like one I'd not leave layin around for long.

  10. @Colleen,

    Yeah, we've talked about it before. Those French tip manicures really bug me. I like that this book and the art is rustic and doesn't look perfect.


    Thanks for commenting on your experience with Bob's books. I'd never heard of him until I was given this book, but I'm a big fan now.


    You probably wouldn't have it laying around without using it because you'd be flipping through the pages looking for ideas. I'm already dreaming of growing a couple of the plants in the book, just so I can try a recipe or too.

  11. That book looks awesome. I'm getting decently good at growing things in my garden, but I end up throwing a lot away since I've been afraid to try canning. If it breaks it down for chumps like me then I'll have to get that book.

    Thanks for the heads up!

  12. @Micah,

    Thanks for stopping by. Hope the book is of help to you.

  13. Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year.

  14. @Claudia,

    Thanks, I hope you have a prosperous and happy New Year too.

  15. Yumm! I've got to get this book for myself. Thanks for the great suggestion!

  16. I totally relate to the manicured nails comment. Incidentally, I've found a combination of the garden hose on "jet" to clean the dirt from under fingernails followed by dunking my hands repeatedly in as-hot-as-I-can-tolerate-it Oxiclean cleans my hands up nicely.

  17. I can see that the book comes with nice good pics. I like practical advice! I am sure many would love this book for these reasons.

    I hope you have had a great countdown and now all prepared for the new year :-D Happy 2010 MTB!

  18. Great Review! From the photos and your words I am sold! His is a new name to me too. Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

  19. @Penny,

    Thanks for the tip.


    Hope you had a wonderful New Years!

    Same here. Hope 2010 is off to a great start for you. Thanks for stopping by the blog and commenting.

  20. Got my copy in the mail last night and I love it :)

    I did a little write up on my blog:

    Thanks again for recommending it. It's a great find.

  21. Sounds like my kind of book! (I'm all about the "informal" aspects of gardening :)

  22. Lisa,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Maybe we should start a club or something for us informal gardening lovers.



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