Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants
Author: Stefani Bittner & Alethea Harampolis
Published: Ten Speed Press | Feb 2017
Length: 224 pg
Hooray for crafting that does not require pre-existing skills! To this end Harvest is a compendium of ideas, a little taste of everything, and a way to dabble in DIY to find out what interests may surprise you.
47 edible plants that you can grow in your garden. 47 projects making use of these plants. Many of these you have likely never heard of, or at least never thought to include, though a variety of common herbs, berries, and edible flowers remain. For example, Black Cumin, Anise Hyssop, and Australian Finger Limes struck me as particularly exotic, while sage, rosemary, and blueberries are fairly common. This book does assume you grow a garden–which I do not (in fact, I often kill what I try to grow)–but I play the rebel and enjoy the projects anyway.
The sections are divided by growing season (early, mid, and late) and the projects tend to fall into a few distinctive themes. You will learn how to make self-care products like lip balm and face creams; you will make original edible delights like infused oils and sugars, tea mixes, and even “Blooming Butter” which is just what it sounds like. For beauty’s sake there are dye recipes, multiple floral arrangement suggestions, and even “Smudge Sticks” (herb bundles burnt like incense).
Everything is gratifyingly simple, and easy to add a personal twist. In fact, an appendix breaks down plant alternatives for each project in the collection–there’s a good twenty alternative suggestions for each one! This means that, basically, you can take whatever you have in your garden and, if it is edible, you will be able to pair it with a new outlet for creativity using this book.
Each plant is introduced by an easy to follow summary of what it needs in order to thrive in your garden. Even if you aren’t planning to grow something, reading each plant’s introduction is still helpful as it includes other uses for the plant besides its associated project, as well as any medicinal properties. Personally, until I have a plot of ground to call my own, I am making use of what I can scavenge or purchase. I had a jar of black cumin seeds in the cupboard that this book gave me a use for. Next I am looking forward to summer blueberry picking to use for dying my cotton kitting sack.
Since the techniques in this volume are so self-evident you may not get much out of this book if you already have a knack for thinking up creative uses for plants. But, if you’ve never dabbled in projects like herb-infused aromatics, skin care products, or flower arranging, this book can be a great launching board to get your creative wheels turning. Even if you have experience in these areas, sometimes it’s nice to have a basic “recipe” that you can build off of in making things your own. Let spring begin!
Review copy courtesy of Ten Speed Press