Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Grow Your Food for Free

The article  below appeared originally online at  The Ecologist  about Dave Hamilton’s book Grow Your Food for Free (Well Almost).

Growing food is officially sexy at the moment. You can tell this from the growing list of celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Nigel Slater who are crowbarring themselves into the grow-your-own market, once the preserve of actual gardeners. This has done a lot to dispel the anoraks-at-dawn image of the amateur veg gardener, so perhaps it’s no bad thing -  but what a pleasure it has been to read a gardening book that doesn’t send the reader scurrying off to the garden centre every five minutes.

Grow Your Own Food for Free (Well, Almost) by Dave Hamilton is all about gardening without spending money. Rather than dealing too much with actual gardening advice, which after all you can get from pretty much any book, the watchwords here are reusing and recycling. Whether it’s planting a wildlife corner or making a tunnel cloche out of – well, nothing much, really – this book points you firmly away from the shops. It directs you instead to take a good look at what you’ve already got, or what other people are giving away for free. Ellie Mains’ artwork, following the primitive style much used by the Transition network, makes clear that this is a twenty-first century book. This echoes the book’s anti-consumerist philosophy, which is made apparent right from the start, including in the opening paragraphs. Hamilton is, without doubt, a writer who wears his heart on his homespun sleeve. Aimed squarely at urban gardeners, the book concentrates on advice for the small scale. The scope, on the other hand, is wide. The growing of food is a large and varied subject, and a single volume can do no more than provide an overview of each. This is what Grow Your Food for Free does very effectively, punctuated with detailed practical advice picked out in coloured boxes to separate it from the text. Continue reading by clicking here.


The New Farmers’ Almanac: A Collection of Essays for Beginners

What agrarian future can we realistically build together? This is a question the Greenhorns hope to answer in their latest book, The New Farmers’ Almanac 2015. Greenhorns is an organization for young farmers—a non-traditional grassroots network with the mission to promote, recruit and support the entering generation of new farmers. It exists to celebrate young […] Read More..

How to Achieve Resiliency Through Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

In today’s world the marketplace distorts our values and our dependence on petroleum keeps us from creating truly sustainable agriculture. So, how can we achieve true wealth and at the same time make society around us more resilient? The answer, Will Bonsall believes, is greater self-reliance in both how we grow our own food, and […] Read More..

Bramble On: The Ins and Outs of Growing Raspberries

Fresh, ripe raspberries picked straight from the garden in the morning. What could be a better start to your day? According to Michael Phillips, author of The Holistic Orchard, growing your own berries is entirely possible for anyone with a bit of space and a passion for the fruit. Brambles grow from the north to […] Read More..

Turning Meat into Money: How to Raise and Sell it Ethically

The consumer demand for grassfed, pasture-raised, and antibiotic-free meats is on the rise, putting farmers and ranchers in a unique position to make a decent living on meat that is produced ethically. But, how exactly do you turn meat into money without resorting to the large-scale industrial techniques of today’s confinement-operations? Look no further than […] Read More..

How to Grow Strawberries Indoors

It’s strawberry shortcake season, which means strawberry harvesting season. But for those of you with no outdoor space for gardens, fear not—you can plant, weed, and harvest all from the comfort of your own home! That’s right: it is possible to grow strawberries indoors, from small spaces. According to R. J. Ruppenthal, author of Fresh […] Read More..