Moon Gardening: John Harris 5 Stars

Moon Gardening
Author: John Harris and Jim Rickard
Publication Date: 22nd September 2016
Publisher: John Blake Publishing Ltd
Imprint: Metro
ISBN-10 1784184152
ISBN:-13 978-1784184155
Publishers Summary:
“This is not your average gardening book. In it you will discover how to increase your crop yield and grow healthier plants and better tasting food, while reducing work in your garden and forking out less on fertiliser. This seemingly impossible win-win is achieved by planting and reaping in tune with the phases of the moon.
Lunar gardening has been around for as long as man has pulled food from the soil. It was practised by the Incas and the Native Americans, and is still followed by the Maoris and rural communities in Eastern Europe. Because it works. But with the mass adoption of fertilisers achieving quicker results for a need-it-now-generation, these techniques have been all but forgotten by the modern gardener. Until now.
Head gardener at Cornwalls famous Tresillian Estate, John Harris has researched, studied and put in to practice the principles of gardening by the phases of the moon for more than forty years. The results he's achieved are nothing short of astonishing. He has never watered his garden (even during the drought of 1976), he only grows organically and yet he's won numerous show awards and prizes for the size, abundance and taste of his produce. In Moon Gardening, he shows you how you can do the same by following a few simple principles.
Moon gardening is not some groundless fad. It's been followed for thousands of years with great success. Anyone who's met John Harris knows he is one of the most down-to-earth people you could wish to meet. This book, written in his own inimitable style, is packed full of tips that improve results, anecdotes that inspire and resources you can rely on. Its ultimate aim is to pass on Johns treasure trove of horticultural knowledge to future generations, so that we can all get more from our garden.”
My first ever gardening book was written by TVs original celebrity gardener, the late Percy Thrower. I couldn’t say how many more I have read since then, but this book, Moon Gardening, definitely rates as the most interesting of them all.

John Harris begins with a few tales from his childhood in Cornwall and of how his gardening life began on the allotment of his uncle Jack Honey. He then goes on to describe his old style gardening apprenticeship at Polwhele under the tutelage of head gardener Noel Masters.

It was Mr. Masters who introduced John to all the old ways, including moon gardening.
An apprenticeship back then took five long years of hard work and John was the only boy to complete it. When he describes some of the old style gardening tasks he was obliged to do then you can understand why. You will have to read the book though to discover their method of growing greenhouse grapes, but believe me, it took a strong stomach!

John then went on to work at the Tresillian estate where he became head gardener, his first job was to restore the walled kitchen garden, it was completely derelict, and so was a huge undertaking, it took two years to clear the brambles and rubbish before the garden could finally be cultivated.

The rest of the book is just jam packed with information such as crop rotation systems, how to prepare fertilisers and apply them, how to make and use compost, digging techniques and so much more, including the Native American three sisters planting - a technique I use - and how moon planting helped the Maori of New Zealand.

I was thrilled to receive a copy of this book as a birthday gift from my friend who lives in the U.K. She chose this for me not only because of my interest in gardening but also because we both grew up living close by to Johns’ family. We didn’t know John as well as we knew his sisters because he had grown up and left home, but we would see him when he came back to visit and to tend their garden.
Being raised in the same town as John I can remember many of the old Newquay people that he speaks of, so for me, that is a lovely bonus.

There are a few reason why I highly recommend this book for every gardener, firstly, of course, because some may wish to learn and utilise the moon gardening techniques. Secondly, because it has all of this wonderful, yet hard to come by information and it's right there between the covers.

Mostly though, I would love if every gardener used this book to learn something of the history of gardening, I think it would be so very sad if these old ways and ancient methods were lost forever.
These days I live a long way from home, but I look forward to using Johns advice in my garden here in Tasmania.

Disclaimer: This book is my own copy, no incentive has been offered for this review. Purchased from Amazon UK

About John Harris (via Amazon UK)
JOHN HARRIS has been a professional gardener since he started his working life in 1956. He got his first spade when he was ten, his first allotment when he was eleven and his first job on a Cornish estate when he was fifteen. He was taught by the best in the business , Noel Masters, a head gardener for many of Cornwall s leading gardens. After his apprenticeship, John worked through various horticultural jobs including running commercial garden centres and advising on large public-works projects until twenty-five years ago, when he was offered a challenge he couldn t refuse the restoration of Tresillian Estate s famous Victorian kitchen garden, which had fallen into deep neglect. He agreed, on condition that he could follow the ancient principles of moon gardening. Tresillian is now regarded as one of the UK s finest examples of a working estate kitchen garden.
John shares his wisdom regularly on TV and radio, including appearances on BBC2 s Gardening Stories, Gardener s World and BBC Radio Devon s Potting Shed. Numerous articles have been written by him and about him in the national press, including the Daily Telegraph, Vogue, Amateur Gardening and Country Life. At seventy-four, John still works full time as head of the gardening team at Tresillian, and lives on the estate with his wife Olive.

About Jim Rickards
JIM RICKARDS picked up a pen at about the same age as John picked up his first spade. He has written two books, Fields of Light and Out of Africa (both published by John Blake). After working in London for twenty years as an editor and sub-editor for HarperCollins and the BBC, he now lives in Cornwall, only a pasty s throw from John Harris. Though nowhere near as green-fingered as the world s most famous moon gardener, he shares John s passion for the end product tasty, healthy food sourced as locally as possible. And you can t get more local than your own garden.

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