GROW – Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)


GROW: A Family Guide to Growing Fruit & Veg
by Ben Raskin
Published Leaping Hare Press February 2017
(in association with the Soil Association)
Hardcover: 48 pages - 15 x 2.2 x 21 cm
Age Range: 8 - 11 years (or may be infinity)
ISBN: 9781782404514
Price £9.99

Have you ever wondered how plants work and how they get their food? Or why we eat the fruit of one plant and the leaf of another? What’s the big deal about growing things – and how do we decide what we need to grow in the space we have?

In Grow, Ben Raskin shares his expert knowledge, in this funky guide for families who are new to edible gardening, looking at the whole life cycle of food, from seed sowing and saving to planning and planting, and—most exciting of all – harvesting the food that you’ve grown. From planting your very own pizza toppings to becoming runner bean rivals!, and learning that a strawberry is actually lots of little strawberries, teach your kids that growing fruit and vegetables is easy and fun, and eating food that you have produced together is even better.

In GROW, you'll get all the inspiration and knowledge you need to get out there and start planting. It includes:

  • A visual guide to the world of plants – what they need, how to care for them and much more.

  • Grow your own pizzas! How to plant for a recipe, with fruit and veg in pots or a whole vegetable garden

  • Pull-out activities, including a temperature chart, a fruit pairs game, 'how long does it take to grow?' wheel, and a “runner beans and hose pipes” game (a gardening version of “snaked & ladders”).

This is a beautifully illustrated beginner's guide for parents who want to have a go at growing something with their family with easy to understand scientific info and instructions in a very accessible format.

In order so that the activities and stickers, and what have you, can be removed without damaging the book instead of being bound, as it the normal way, the pages are held in by screw posts.

Love the book and its design. But then, I guess, I am still a child at heart. Then again, what is age. It is but a number and in all honesty this book is equally well suited for parents wishing to garden with their children as for youngsters or older people just starting out in gardening.

Ben Raskin is the Head of Horticulture at the Soil Association. He runs courses and training and launched the Soil Association's flagship Organic Apprenticeship Scheme in 2007. He also mentors and advises on organic growing. Ben got the gardening bug working on an organic vineyard in northern Italy, and has worked in horticulture for more than 20 years, including a stint as Assistant Head Gardener at the UK charity Garden Organic.

© 2017