Wednesday, 1 August 2007

1933 Yates Garden Guide

On our walk on Monday Doc decided he wanted to wander around the local secondhand shop. I tagged along always cautious of the results of such digressions.
Doc went off to look at the blokey stuff and I found the book section....and what a find. There were some very old gardening books on the shelf. Always curious about pre-second world war gardening methods I picked up a copy of Yates Gardening Guide dated 1933.

These books have been produced in Australia since 1895 and my other copy, the 1988 version, is touted as being the 'All Colour Edition' probably one of the first colour editions produced.

These guides were (and still are) seen as a record of what seeds were commercially available and they are an indication of what many people were growing.

It was interesting to note a few omissions in the 1933 edition of seeds that are very commonplace now. For example there are no Capsicums, Zucchini, Chinese vegetables and the only herbs listed were Parsley, Sage, Thyme, Mint and Marjoram.
No Basil, Coriander, Oregano or even Lavender.

It wasn't until later in the 50's, 60's and into the 70's that our European and Asian migrant population brought many of the interesting (to us) food crops with them. Even my 1988 edition only has 4 'Oriental Vegetables' listed.

It was also interesting to note that the main solution to any pest problem was the use of Arsenate of Lead and Tobacco Water. Kerosene Emulsion also featured high on the list of trusted remedies. There were some other less dreaded remedies that I shall be investigating further as this book was written before post-war spread of Chemical Warfare in the garden.

One thing I did notice on the back page of this book was the following advice which I do believe is still most important in any form of gardening...

" The Value of Keeping Records"
A little trouble taken to keep notes of garden operations, the season, rainfall, time of sowing, planting, blooming, ripening will return in the course of a few years an amount of information which will prove invaluable, therefore we suggest that every beginner make a few notes from month to month; this will enable him rapidly to improve his methods and become an expert gardener."
-Yates Garden Guide 1933


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