This is a book for adults and children to share. It is a practical guide towards first steps in gardening and planting your own food. It comes with free packets of seeds – beetroot, carrots, leeks and, I think, peppers. It’s difficult to remember because we already had some packets of our own seeds and combined them. Growing Vegetables is Fun is now in its second edition. The first edition of the book came out in 2008, so it is presumably intended to be a sort of springtime annual.
The book is a collection of helpful hints about planting and tending delicate seedlings; how to pot on or transplant and then plant out in the garden. There are health and safety warnings throughout, such as, “Do not store anything other than water in a plastic bottle in case other people drink it by mistake”. This is about the correct level of logic for a young child. There are prompts on the pages for when to sow and when to harvest and how long the growing stage is likely to be for different vegetables.
There are cartoon illustrations by Cory Xavier to clarify instructions as well as photographs of children doing garden work or planting seeds and tubers. There are recipes for the produce so that the children can begin to understand the growth-harvest-eat and store principles. There is a good section on garden pests, including next door’s cat and its poo! The section about weeds and weeding kept me well informed. In the middle, there are blank pages for garden notes and plans and pictures that a child might wish to draw.
The book is the sort that can grow with the child. I can imagine an older child reading it independently so that they can go on to become gardeners in their own right. The size of the book renders it unlikely to be used as a pocket reference: more a planning resource before setting foot in the garden or visiting a nursery garden.
The recommended age for children to share this book with adults is 3+. It doesn’t say how old the adult has to be. I liked this book and so did my three year old grandchild. We will continue to read through it as she gets older and, I hope, more interested in helping her Nana to feed the family.
Cooper, Emma (2009)
Growing Vegetables is Fun
Revised second edition