Botany of the Kitchen Garden
Written by Kew’s kitchen gardener Hélèna Dove, who provides an accessible, detailed and essential reference on food crops for everyone from beginner grower to food scientist.
Author: Hélèna Dove. Over 60 line drawings, 40 colour photos. 224pp. 210 x 150 mm. Hardback, ISBN 978 1 84246 783 1, Kew Publishing 2023.
We have been growing fruits and vegetables in domesticated situations for centuries. From large scale agriculture to windowsill pots, most people have grown their own at some point; food growing is an important part of cultures and lifestyles, often bringing people together to grow and share a meal.
In Botany of the Kitchen Garden, Kew expert Hélèna Dove expertly combines horticulture and science in this essential reference on food crops: which part of the plant are we harvesting, how are plants adapted and how does this effect the grower? She demonstrates that by examining the botany of both wild and domesticated plants, we can understand behaviours and adaptations, giving readers and growers the tools to delve further into their favourite foods. From asparagus, cabbage, lettuce and raspberry to pineapple, tomatillo and okra, each comprehensive plant entry and includes information on etymology, cultivation history, growing habits, cultivars and varieties, and much more.
With a closer look at the everyday crops we grow and eat, this book will help the reader cultivate more productive plots, provide a renewed zest for the food on our plates, and a deeper understanding to an afternoon spent at the allotment.
Taking us beyond the cultivation of the carrot and cabbage, Hélèna offers a wealth of knowledge on growing a broad range of produce, many of which would have once been considered unusual. This is a contemporary guide to fruit and vegetable growing that underpins our knowledge with approachable, useful botanical science that we can employ in a practical way. Errol Reuben Fernandes, Horticulturist and Designer
Hélèna Dove is the kitchen gardener at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where she grows a range of fruit and vegetables, with a view on the science of crops. Previously she managed a historic kitchen garden which was full of heritage produce. She is the author or co-author of several books on cultivating and using edible plants including The Kew Gardener’s Guide to Growing Vegetables (Frances Lincoln, 2020) and The Botanical City (Hoxton Mini Press, 2020).
Media and Reviews
This is a goldmine for gardening trivia enthusiasts... It is a delightful reminder of just how amazing plants are: I'll never look at my veg in quite the same way again.
- Sally Nex, author and gardener reviewing for Gardens Illustrated, Spring 2023
By examining the botany of plants, we can understand behaviours and adaptations, giving growers the tools to delve further into our favourite foods. Hélèna offers a wealth of knowledge on growing a broad range of produce. This is a contemporary guide to fruit and vegetable growing providing useful botanical science that we can employ in a practical way.
- Simon Fine, book reviewer for Sixty Plus Surfers, 2023
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