Join popular media personality and foodie Indira Naidoo as she embarks on a mission totransform her tiny thirteen-floor balcony into a bountiful kitchen garden. She soon establishes a productive urban oasis that takes just ten minutes a day to maintain, yet provides her with an ever-changing selection of fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables.
Featuring 60 delicious recipes showcasing her home-grown produce, plus plenty of practical advice, The Edible Balcony charts a year in the life of Indira’s balcony garden and gives a season-by-season account of the triumphs and challenges she faces. This warm and engaging book will inspire even the most reluctant green thumbs to channel their inner gardeners and reconnect with nature, while also saving money and reducing their carbon footprint.
The Edible Balcony has become a phenomenal best-seller selling 20,000 copies and has been reprinted 4 times.
What they say about the book:
‘An inspiring read’
- Gardening Australia, Dec 2011
‘Contains a wealth of information’
- Cheryl Maddocks, Sydney Morning Herald Apr 2012
‘Indira shows you how to grow like a pro’
- Handyman Magazine, Jan 2012
‘Indira Naidoo converted her urban balcony into a market garden with rewarding results’
- The Australian Women’s Weekly, Nov 2011
‘Lush images by Alan Benson’
- Sunday Sun Herald Roslyn Grundy
Get the book here with Penguin
I was very much a City Girl.
My world consisted of cars, gridlock, pollution, television studios, concrete towers, fluorescent lights, noisy bars, restaurants, manicures, drycleaners, high-rise apartments, concrete and steel. I could easily go a week without my feet touching a blade of grass, my hand brushing up against the bark of a tree or my nose taking in the scent of a flower. I was about as far removed from nature as any human being on the planet could be.
My food was packaged and convenient – free of dirt, grit or blemishes. Where it came from before it landed on my supermarket shelf, I didn’t know, and I cared even less. When it came to meal preparation, minimising time had become far more important than maximising flavour. Like many time-poor urban professionals, even ‘ten-minute’ meals took far too long.
As a card-carrying member of Generation Jet-set, my urban jungle may have triumphed over the environment, but deep down I was slowly beginning to question what sort of world it had delivered. In this burgeoning age of green, organic and natural, had I become a perfect candidate for – how would the
North Korean government put it – re-education?
My motivation to reconnect with my inner hunter/gatherer came to me as most of my epiphanies do – when I was hungry. I was shopping at a farmers’ market in Sydney, when a stallholder offered me one of his cherry tomatoes to sample. I thanked him and popped it in my mouth distractedly, thinking about what I was going to buy for lunch.
The flavour detonation that followed stopped me in my tracks.
It was like no tomato I had ever tasted – sweet and full-flavoured, its thin, delicate skin wrapped around a juicy, fruity centre. It was how I remember tomatoes tasting from my childhood. I spun around on my heels and made a beeline back to the stall.
‘That tomato was delicious,’ I said enthusiastically. ‘Where did you get it?’
‘I grew them myself,’ said the stallholder.
‘Really?’ I said, incredulously. ‘But why does it taste so good? I try to buy fresh organic tomatoes all the time but they don’t taste like that.’
‘It’s an heirloom variety that hardly anyone grows anymore. Commercial growers aren’t interested in them because they don’t store or transport well. You need to eat them on the day they’re picked,’ he said. ‘If you keep the seeds, you can grow some yourself,’ he said.
‘But I live in an apartment,’ I said, perplexed.
‘Do you have a balcony and some sunlight?’
‘Well . . . yes,’ I said.
‘Then it’ll be easy,’ he said.
What an extraordinary idea. Could it be that simple to grow my own food, even though I lived in a thirteenth-Floor apartment with no garden? I bought a bag of his tomatoes and rushed home to transform them into a simple tomato and basil pasta sauce for lunch.
It was a meal I will never forget. The Flavours were ethereal. What other home-cooked, Michelin-starred delights was I missing out on because my store-bought tomatoes were sub-standard? I realised I had put up with Flavourless tomatoes for too long. Right there and then I resolved to try and grow my own.
Little did I know that one tiny tomato was to be the catalyst for a food-gardening obsession that would change my life . . .
Join one of our Garden Tours
Get in touch for a booking.