The self-sufficient gardener

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a Borders bookstore, sitting in a comfy armchair and perusing some interesting books. One was The new self-sufficient gardener by John Seymour, that guru of self-sufficiency. The book is a revised and updated version of his 1978 book The self-sufficient gardener.

The new self-sufficient gardener

The book is a comprehensive resource, and is full of b&w and colour illustrations. The first nine chapters deal with planning your garden, the essentials of good gardening, and the cultivation of fruit, vegetables & herbs. Seymour extolls the virtues of the “Deep Bed Method” of gardening (aka the Chinese Method, the French Intensive Method & the Biodynamic/French Intensive Method). Seymour is not one for simply repeating the same standard gardening advice the way a lot of books and websites do. Instead, has “walked the walk” with the gardening techniques he recommends and has proven that they work.

Yields with the Deep Bed Method are impressive… a bed of 100 square feet (9 square metres) can produce from 200 to 400 pounds (90-180 kg) of vegetables a year, thus saving hundreds of ££ (or $$ or €€ or whatever) a year at the supermarket.

There is also a chapter on preserving garden produce (salting, drying, pickles, bottling, freezing) and making jams, jellies, wine, cider & mead; and a final chapter on a few miscellaneous topics like beekeeping, drainage and hedges.

A great book, and I coveted it, but at £20, it didn’t find its way onto my bookshelf that day.

But then, last week, I was in a WHSmith bookstore and found to my delight that it was on special offer, half price at £10. My joy was compounded when I was able to use a ‘£5 off when you spend £10 on any book’ coupon that was burning a hole in my wallet, and which you can print here:

WHSmith coupons

Thus I was able to walk around the rest of the day feeling very self-satisfied (all you thrifty shoppers will be familiar with the ‘thrill of the bargain’ high).

I very highly recommend The new self-sufficient gardener, and at £5 it’s a steal of a deal.


  1. great tips. I enjoyed reading this

  2. Hi,

    I agree that ‘The self-sufficient gardener’ is a must have book for anyone aiming at self-sufficiency. I have a new colour edition and also the original published by Faber.When you say the’borders’ do you mean the Welsh borders? I am based at Hay-on Wye.
    If any of your members are interested in self-sufficiency, in the broadest sense of the word, they may be interested in a new social networking site exclusively for self-sufficient vegetarians and vegans ‘The self-sufficient Vegetarian’.

  3. Hi Ray — Borders is a chain of bookstores… there are not many of them in the UK, which is probably why you’re not familiar with them 🙂 Don’t think I’ve been to Hay-on-Wye, though we usually go camping somewhere in Wales in the summer, lovely place to camp. Thanks for the link; looks great & I will check it out!

  4. The self-sufficient gardener book seems that it has a lot to share. Honestly, I haven’t read it. But it’s quite interesting. Thanks for sharing the blog.

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