‘We always look for homemade solutions to problems’ – gardener, Joyce Russell

***Rachel Khoo would like to thank all the inspiring people who helped make the Khoollect studio a hive of creativity. Although the Khoollect studio’s doors have now closed, you can keep up with Rachel’s newest adventures on RachelKhoo.com and on Rachel’s Instagram and Facebook pages – and, continue to enjoy the Khoollect website’s stories and recipes, which will remain available.***

Ever fancied building your own vegetable garden but didn’t know how? Joyce Russell is here to help. His new book, made with partner Ben Russell, is jam-packed full of creative ideas for your vegetable garden. With a whole bunch of practical tips and ideas, it’s a sure-fire way to get you going. We grabbed Joyce for a little chat about both, his background, and new book Build a Better Vegetable Garden.

For those that don’t know, can you tell us a bit about your background?

I live in the south-west of Ireland, in a house that my husband Ben and I built ourselves. I have a large organic garden and write on this subject for magazines and newspapers.

What made you decide to write this book?

We are a very practical couple and always look for homemade solutions to problems. We also like to make gardening easier with new techniques, designs and ideas. This book allows us to share some of these exciting possibilities with others.

What do you think people will get from the book?

I hope people will be inspired to make some of the projects, of course: there are lots that are really simple. But more than that, I hope they will feel empowered to design and make some of their own ideas too.

Building a better veg garden

What’s your favourite DIY project from the book, and why?

It’s hard to choose, but I do really love the bean frame. It is so simple to make, looks so lovely, and it folds up to store for future years.

What are your plans for 2017?

Well, there are lots of vegetables and fruits to grow to feed my family. There are also some new projects in the pipeline. I’m interested in working with green hazel sticks and think that a few bits of garden furniture might be the next thing.

And finally, What do you Khoollect?

I find lots of pieces of broken pottery as I dig in the garden. Some are clearly from delicate cups and others from stone jars. I love the patterns and colours. My plan is to collect them all until there are enough to make a mosaic in the heart of a stone patio.

Build a Better Vegetable Garden by Joyce Russell, photography by Ben Russell, is out now. Published by Frances Lincoln (£16.99)

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