New GIY book takes the mystery out of growing vegetables

Month-by-month instructions, handy tips, and seasonal recipes from chefs and growers

Grow, Cook, Eat, a new book from Michael Kelly, founder of the Grow It Yourself movement, is that rare thing – a gardening book that doesn't make the non-green-fingered feel completely out of their depth and ready to throw in the trowel. It's a month-by-month guide to what to do in the kitchen garden, supported by seasonal recipes by a host of well known names.

Kelly’s interest in growing food sprang from what he describes as his “road to Damascus moment”, when he noticed that the bag of garlic he was throwing into his supermarket trolley was grown in China.

“I had never seen a food import from China before and the fact that it was something so small and so cheap that had travelled so far, just really got my goat up.”

So the former IT consultant stuck a few cloves of garlic in the ground, and hoped for the best. Delighted when he spotted the arrival of some green shoots, he congratulated himself on his endeavours and waited for the garlic to appear. “In my innocence I assumed the garlic bulb would grow on top of the shoot and when that failed to materialise I grew increasingly despondent.”


Of course Kelly is now, after a career change and a move to the countryside, a fully-fledged GIY expert, but there's something very encouraging about this honest admission. We've all got to start somewhere. So, if you are tempted to have a taste of The Good Life next year, make sure you have a copy of this book to hand.

And even if you're not tempted to get your hands dirty in the garden, there are lots of recipes contributed by well known food and gardening personalities including Trish Deseine, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Alys Fowler, Catherine Fulvio, Joy Larkcom and Donal Skehan to keep you busy in the kitchen.

Grow, Cook, Eat, by Michael Kelly, is edited by Cristíona Kiely, and published by GIY Ireland. Proceeds from sales will go towards funding Grow HQ, the organisation's national food education centre, which will open in Waterford in 2015 on a three-acre site at Ardkeen. The book received sponsorship from Aramark and Flahavans. It goes on sale on Friday, priced €25.