Monday 11 January 2010

A gardening book I won't read

I was just wandering around the gardening and cookbook section at Waterstones today (they are next to each other) and out of the corner of my eye I saw the words 'girls' and 'dirty'. Swinging back to take a closer look I came across this: The Girl's Guide to Growing Your Own: How to Grow Fruit and Vegetables Without Getting Your Hands Too Dirty.

huh? You can garden without getting too dirty? Can I just say, if you garden without getting too dirty, you are probably not really gardening.

But what offended me the most was the word 'girls'. When I took a closer look I discovered, as I suspected, that it was aimed to "appeal to 20- and 30-something working women everywhere who have busy lives, but still want to grow their own produce without spending all weekend digging". And whom they insultingly titled 'girls'.

This pisses me off as a gardener and a women, hey, as a woman gardener, if I have to be labelled as such. I prefer just gardener thanks, why should my gender matter? At 42 (ok, I'm not 20-30 but I'm cross on behalf of my younger self), I'm not a fricken girl and am insulted some idiot publisher out there, or even the author, thinks that this might make me think I would pick the book up if they put the word 'girl' in the title. Furthermore, they are clearly aiming at some mythical women who they think like to be called girls and wear short fashionable skirts when gardening. Oh and a heap of other mythical female-gender crap that I'm too annoyed to even be able to express.

Frankly, if there is a women (girl?) out there who thinks the book might be a good idea, then please, DON'T GARDEN. You have to do some digging, you have to get dirty (and not just your hands), and it makes the most sense to wear grotty old clothes where you don't look in the least bit fashionable.

If you are a 20- and 30-something working woman with a busy life (and who isn't) that wants learn about gardening, please read something sensible, I list a couple of books I refer to regularly below for various aspect of gardening. And accept it, ya gonna get dirty.
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Grow your own vegetables - Joy Larkam's classic. No pictures, just straight-forward information on growing veggies.

The edible container garden - showing how much you can grow in small spaces. Practical info and presented in an inspiring manner.

Gardening on a Bed System - all you need to know about raised beds and plant rotations.

Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening - useful reference book.

Pests - how to control them - need I say more?

The Vegetable & Herb Expert - not organic, but good for beginners, and not-beginners (I refer to it regularly). Really useful veggie growing info set out so you can easily find the section you want. Please, ignore any reference to chemical though. Don't use chemicals...

RHS Fruit and Vegetable Gardening - again, not organic (one of my bug-bears about the RHS, they still recommend chemicals), but is a useful reference book. Includes pest problems.

How to Store Your Garden Produce - The Key to Self-Sufficiency - um, does what it says on the tin. Straight-forward, anyone can do it.