The Usborne Book of Growing Food

Today’s post was a long time in the making, and I’m so excited to finally be able to share this great project! It’s the Usborne Book of Growing Food, written by Abigail Wheatley, which I illustrated for Usborne Books here in the UK. This is the project that kept me busy up to my eyeballs in the months before Emmett was born, and I just finished the illustrations a few days before he arrived! It hit retailers a month or so ago, and I thought now would be the perfect time to write about it, what with gardening weather finally being upon us.

The book is 64 pages and spiral-bound, and aimed at young people who are interested in growing their own food for the first time. Each spread details a different veggie-growing project, with step-by-step illustrations and a full-page picture of the final product, accompanied by tips and callouts. All of the projects can be grown in containers, so it’s perfect for kids who want to grow just one or two things, or for those who don’t have a whole garden to work with. It’s made for kids, but I think it would be good for anyone who is new to vegetable gardening — myself included! As I was working on the drawings, I kept thinking, “I’ve got to try growing these veggies!”

An intro spread, showing some of the projects from the book.

Two of my favorite herbs, rosemary and mint.

The tiniest of container growing, mustard and cress sprouts grown in jars.

There are also quite a few spreads about tools, techniques such as watering and planting, and information on making your own compost and plant food. This was a really fun project to work on, not only because I illustrated the whole thing*, but because it gave me the opportunity to draw lots of new things, like all different sorts of plants, veggies, and gardening tools. (*Full disclosure — there is one other illustrator credited in the book, because there were little changes and additions that needed to be made after I was on maternity leave, so another illustrator had to do them.)

Here’s a techniques spread, showing you how to plant and water properly.

I always want to buy these adorable little squash at farmer’s markets, I should try growing them myself!

As always, my clients at Usborne were a dream to work with, so a big thank you to Hannah Ahmed, Vickie Robinson and Helen Edmonds. If you’d like to buy the book, you can get it from Amazon in the UK here , or in the US you can get it from third-party sellers on Amazon here.

I didn’t know you could grow potatoes in a bag of soil!

I hope this inspires you to go out and grow some delicious squash, potatoes, herbs and all sorts of other good things this summer, and thanks for reading!

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