Saturday, 22 April 2017

Sow How-A Gardening Book With A Difference

So I'm often heard banging on about how important it is that we ensure we have future generations of gardeners, both professional and hobbyists. Our horticulture industry already is struggling to bring young people into it, due mainly to schools really not engaging with it as a serious career option, and many assuming it just involves grass cutting. 
Anyway I digress somewhat. Where, if you're interested in growing something, do you start?
Where's a simple, step by step instruction manual on growing from seed, that's modern, appeals to the urban and is led by design, rather than lots of words and someone your parents age in the photos?! So many gardening books written by experts are complex and quite hard as a beginner to work out what the basics are. Now I'm not deriding experts as my name is not Gove and personally I love a book written by someone who has spent 20 years studying one genus for example, but sometimes simple is what's needed. 
So a good couple of years ago I met Paul Matson, who at that point had just released a range of seeds called Sow How, each of which came with a beautifully designed card with all the instructions you might need, designed in an infographic type style. I thought they were brilliant, said so, and regularly pointed new gardeners to the range, which were mainly available in Bristol. When I met Paul he said the idea had come from being a beginner himself and wanting a seed packet that focussed on the beginner, in a way that was modern, designed and more infographic than words, but that also was affordable in case it all went wrong. 
In the time between then and now, Sow How has gone on to become a book, and for me it's one of the most exciting to hit the market this year. Now it's not exciting particularly because I need it, but it's exciting because it's somewhere I can send people, a resource that is not just beautiful and attractive to that younger audience, but is also completely trust worthy as Paul brought a grower in to the project to make sure the advice is right.
Many people make assumptions that there are no new hobbyist gardeners out there, but a new generation of garden bloggers and vloggers are proving that to be wrong. The average age of our Incredible Edible Bristol volunteers right now is around 26 and these are all people who want to learn, share and practice horticultural skills. Young people are gardening and this is a book for them, and anyone just setting out. I'm trying to decide who I'm buying it for at Christmas already!!

I received a copy of  Sow How but in no way did that influence my opinions-I am always going to love anything that supports young people to learn good horticultural skills!!


  1. I love the look of this book, and I can see how the cool and stylish graphics would appeal to young beginners. It does have a 'scratch n sniff' look about it. Does anyone remember those t shirts for the 70s? *chuckles and wobbles on zimmer frame*

  2. I think some of the images would make grand tee-shirts.......