by Geoffrey Churchman

Like many of his generation, my father was a keen vegetable gardener and spent a lot of time in our home vege patch which covered maybe 30 sq metres. We also grew strawberries.

Although it wasn’t an issue in those days, this was also organic pesticide-free produce. It didn’t make us completely self-sufficient, but it did provide quite a high proportion of our vege needs.

In 1979 I bought this book to provide inspiration for my own efforts. (I was very tempted that year to buy a section in a new south Karori subdivision just to grow vegetables, but as my Big OE plans were not far away, I didn’t. Those sections were selling for $9,000; today they would be worth around 50 times that. 😦 )

One of the easiest foods to grow and for that reason probably should be tried first are potatoes as they are pretty tolerant of most soil and climate conditions. They are high in carbs, but also have a good range of vitamins and minerals; you could live on potatoes alone. Recycling food scraps in the form of compost will add to success.

A new edition of the book by John Seymour (1914-2004) has been produced (I’ve not seen it and hopefully it has all of the illustrations of the original) but it’s not the only book on this theme and some NZ-authored books are also available.

I want to present in the coming weeks a few such home vegetable gardens in Kapiti the experience of which by different owners should provide tips applying to local soil and climate conditions.