Small Organic Spaces

It is not true that all people who like to garden are naturally practical people. We are not all ‘earthy’ or pragmatic and sometimes, we need help to make our vision of The Good Life (circa 1970s BBC television series) a reality. Frankly, what we urban gardeners/dreamers need is a manual.

Small Space Organics is that manual. Here is one text book that covers everything from growing edible water plants to keeping chooks. I’ve truly embraced this book and have found myself carrying it around with me: to the garden, to the lounge, to bed. Josh Byrne’s words have made me ponder, revise and, essential for any home grower, hope.

I’ve read the growing guide to fruit trees, the companion planting chapter (marigolds, marigolds, marigolds) and have discussed the variety of chooks we could get with my family. (Presently we have only one sweetheart.) There are pictures in this book of an extraordinary use of space. I imagine Byrne has to live as he writes and even though I’m most likely not going to dig up the whole back yard to install underground water supply, I’ve taken other parts of his advice on board.

gardenByrne has made his whole life out of gardening. He’s an environmental scientist, the presenter of Gardening Australia in WA and recognised as a national leader of sustainable landscape design.

I’m not any of those things. I like to potter. I like to read. I like to pull out weeds and marvel at the colour of my tomatoes and basil. I’m happy when I pick beets and pears and grapes.

And I like the feeling this book gives me. It makes me feel serious, useful and part of a movement that is taking over Australia. It is a movement that at heart seems to say: Grow your own, eat better and slow down. So, go read a book or at least plant those pumpkin seeds.


Chris Gordon is the Events Coordinator for Readings and is a committee member of The Stella Prize.