It’s a nervous time for a first time author… will people buy it? Will they like it?
Here’s a lovely email I just received from Caroline who read an advanced copy of the book during the weekend.
Thank you so much for your fabulous book. My husband works for the company that owns penguin, so when I saw that your book will be released on the 31st of October, I asked him to order it for me. And tadah: This Friday he came home with the book, 3 days before it’s in the stores.
I feel very honoured to be probably one of the first people, apart from your dear and loved ones, to read The Edible Balcony. And what shall I say? I finished it this very same weekend! I just couldn’t put it down!
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and recipes.
Similar to you, I had always grown herbs on my balcony. In the first autumn after we moved here, I added a few citrus trees to the bed that is attached to our balcony: lemon, lime and kaffir lime as well as a lemon myrtle. These followed two small olive trees to cover our sunshade. It actually sounds more and bigger than it really was, they more or less took care of themselves, while my herbs were regularly eaten up by caterpillars overnight.
Last year I tried some tomatoes, but as we were incredibly busy with wedding plans, they certainly did not get the attention (and water) they needed. We had one tomato!
This year though I decided to go for it. I had taken part in the CSIRO Energymark project and one thing that shocked me was how much water is wasted for food of which most ends up in the bin anyway (Australia is the world’s second largest waste producer per capita). Coming from Germany to Australia 3 years ago, I never understood how a country like Australia, in which there is always a region with perfect weather to grow food, could import so much food: cherries from USA, mangoes from Mexico, asparagus fro Thailand, garlic from China and so the list goes. I also never understood why people don’t grow more fruit and vegies. Even in Germany we grew herbs, tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and even tried zucchini. And this with one month of summer, if at all.
Like you, my first step (in August) was to find out what is suitable to grow on a balcony. And like you, I did not find much out there. Apart from your blog!
I was totally hooked up, read all edible balcony entries in one afternoon. It inspired me what to try out and gave me the confidence that I could do something! I joined the diggers, ordered seeds, started a worm farm and got out there and planted my seeds. Spring onions, tomatoes, rainbow silverbeet, carrots, heirloom radish, pak choy, nasturtiums, beans, soy beans, lettuce, chili, zucchini, rocket, beetroot. Sounds familiar ?
When I read your book over the last two days, I felt as if you had written down my feelings and thoughts: The exact description of the last thought before falling asleep, the first when waking up, running out onto the balcony first thing in the morning to check for new shoots and caterpillar/aphid/slug damage. Coming home from the office or interstate travel, checking on all the progress with a glass of wine in my hand. The excitement I feel with every new plant glimpsing through the soil.
Thank you thank thank you for your inspiring and motivating book. Thank you for sharing your successes but thank you even more for sharing the errors and failures! It makes it so much more believable and motivating to see that not everything is always running smoothly. It feels more like a friend giving advice, rather than a teacher. I am also looking forward to try out your recipes (tonight we will have the moussaka eggplant stacks).
I wanted to write you this email as a first feedback from a passionate fellow balcony farmer on your beautiful book. The layout reminds me of a mini (well, balcony) version of Stephanie Alexander’s kitchen garden companion. Please keep up your great work and thank you very much for finding those words to fill the empty computer screen at 4 am. I know I will get back to these words whenever I have a setback on the balcony or if my motivation is dropping.
All the best for this new year of balcony gardening and all the best for your future as a book author.
Thanks for those very generous supportive words Caroline! Welcome to the food gardening club! thanks Indira