Harvest by Meredith Kirton

Grow it, cook it, eat it

By Sara Schwarz
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Harvest - A complete Australian guide to the edible garden - by Meredith Kirton

Harvest - A complete Australian guide to the edible garden - by Meredith Kirton [©Murdoch Books]

Do you have a favourite post-gardening wine or beer? Read on, as we offer you the opportunity to win a copy of Harvest . . .

Meredith Kirton is a well respected gardener and horticulturalist with more than two decades of experience. In her latest book, Harvest - a complete Australian guide to the edible garden, Ms Kirton inspires this home gardening novice to test out her green thumb for the sake of her stomach and to ponder which wines best reward a hard day's hoeing.

Never one to turn down a free meal, I recently dined with a friend’s parents at their property on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. This dinner was made extra special by the fact each ingredient came straight from their garden and paddocks – potatoes and onions dug straight from the ground were roasted to perfection, an array of freshly picked greens arrived gently steamed, while dessert was a tangy rhubarb crumble. The centre-piece of the meal, an extremely succulent free-range lamb, I am certain had a more enjoyable life than any meat I’ve had the privilege of consuming to date.

Inspired by the aforementioned dinner and my still salivating tastebuds I began to mentally plan my own veg patch and mini orchard when soon after, Harvest - a complete Australian guide to the edible garden by Meredith Kirton, fortuitously landed on my desk.

What a delight this book is! Ms Kirton has amassed a wealth of knowledge over her 20 years in gardening and horticulture and her passion for helping people to create their own plots of heaven shines through.

Written to be practical for all Australians across this diverse continent is no mean feat. Ms Kirton however, takes it in her stride – presenting accessible reference guides on how to establish your own edible garden, what to plant, when to plant it and how to care for it.

With a down-to-earth holistic approach to gardening, throughout you will find little tips to further the health of your garden such as the recognition and understanding of various diseases and pests, the virtues of companion planting and ways to attract beneficial wildlife.

Ms Kirton also offers alternate options to the use of pesticides – left over plunger or espresso coffee when diluted makes an excellent slug and snail repellant and “before you use a chemical in the garden, remember that when one pest disappears, another usually takes its place and it may be an even worse problem that the original one”. Sage and practical advice for today’s chemically addled world.

The only thing missing I felt was a brief guide offering advice on what wines are best to drink after a hard days’ gardening. Personally, a glass of d'Arenberg's Laughing Magpie or a chilled Coopers Pale Ale does the trick.

So, with a now well-thumbed copy of Harvest on hand, and the purchase of a number of recycled half-wine barrels from a local winery, I have begun to establish my own edible garden. While only small at the moment, I have great plans for its expansion – my only dilemma is where I can squeeze in a couple of lambs. Perhaps chickens are more appropriate. . .


TO WIN A COPY OF HARVEST, send your farvourite "post-gardening wine (or beer)' suggestions to partners@visitvineyards.com

The best suggestion as judged by the VisitVineyards.com team will receive their own copy of Harvest, while second and third will receive a copy each of the wonderful Taste Food and Wine 2009 by Tyson Stelzer and Matthew Jukes.

Entries close 30th November 2009, winners announced 1st December, 2009.


Harvest. A complete Australian guide to the edible garden by Meredith Kirton is published by Murdoch Books (hb; 2009) RRP A$69.95.

Subscribers and Members of VisitVineyards.com and Winepros Archive can purchase Harvest from our book partners Seekbooks at 12.5% discount off RRP (postage extra).

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October 29th, 2009
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