“The All You Can Eat Gardening Handbook” Launch
by Cam Mather
It felt just like a hospital delivery room here at Aztext Press the other day when we got the latest book back from the printers. I began writing “The All You Can Eat Gardening Handbook” last spring and finished it at Christmas. Our editor Joan did an amazing job of getting it edited in time so that the book would be ready for the gardening season.
Up until we published my book “Thriving During Challenging Times,” all of our Aztext Press books had been written by Bill Kemp. While I had a sense of how much work was involved, it wasn’t until I actually wrote a book myself that I got a handle on what’s really involved. It’s quite exhausting… mentally and physically. I have a new ache in my shoulder that I could blame on splitting firewood, but this new ache bothers me most when I place my hands on my computer keyboard. Of course, I guess I should expect new aches and pains at my age.
When a book finally comes back from the printers it’s a very gratifying experience. As a male, I am unable to conceive (this could be the topic of my next book) but I imagine that it is like giving birth, without the pain and screaming (if the TV shows are accurate). I spent a lot of time laboring over how to set the gardening book up and I’m really pleased with the final product.
We’re getting great reviews for the book so far which is also very gratifying. My ophthalmologist Dr. Angela Moore has just built an amazing new office in Napanee that is extremely energy-efficient. She also has a fantastic vegetable garden out back which you can’t miss noticing from the parking lot. This photo shows the garden with the back of her building in behind. When I visited her office one day last summer the staff was all abuzz about the vegetables Angela kept bringing in from her garden. One afternoon I dropped in after she was finished with patients and she put her boots on and took me for the tour. Her enthusiasm for her vegetable garden is boundless and I’m hoping my enthusiasm for gardening has come through in the book.
I strongly believe that with rising energy costs from peak oil it’s going to be very important for everyone to start producing some of their own food. From a technology-saturated, carpel-tunnel saddled, corporate food perspective there is nothing better for your soul than a garden. Flower gardening is extremely popular, but sorry, flowers won’t help you when produce prices start going through the roof as diesel fuel prices skyrocket. You can eat some nasturtium, pansy and borage flowers, but a meal of vegetables picked fresh from your garden just minutes before you eat them is just really, really good for your body, and for your soul.
So now that I’ve told you that Angela is a friend and you know that she might be biased, here’s her review of the book:
“I’m working my way through your book. It is really great. One really nice thing is how complete it is. From turning the sod to preserving the harvest. That is what a lot of garden books are lacking. Right down to the title, you have thought of everything. One nice thing is that it includes what is difficult and the things that didn’t work which encourages people to keep trying.”
And before you think that she wasn’t being critical enough, she did find one area in which we disagree. In the book I suggest that I’m quite happy with the hybrid tomato plants that I get from my local greenhouse, but Angela insists that her heirloom tomatoes are far superior and has challenged me to a “Tomato Taste-Off” this summer. The gauntlet has been thrown down, and I will rise to the occasion. I suggested to Angela that even though I’ve eaten a plant-based diet for more than 20 years, it’s only in the last few that I’ve started eating raw tomatoes on their own. If they’re in a sandwich or pasta sauce you can’t always get a true sense of their taste. So my taste buds have much maturing to do in this department and I am looking forward to learning more.
That’s what I love about gardening, the continual learning that goes along with it. Every year you learn something new. I’m fortunate to have the local Tamworth Grassroots Growers meetings to attend to learn from others. I’m doing a presentation on root cellars along with my book launch on March 30th here in Tamworth and I’ll look forward to the discussion afterwards to learn about other peoples’ experiences. The All You Can Eat Gardening Handbook is filled with my 30+ years worth of experience growing food organically and I’m enthused that others will be able to pick it up and learn from my gardening successes and failures.