The book begins with eight chapters on the issues around seeds globally and the practicalities of saving your own seeds. Three quarters of the book is on 117 food plants, mostly vegetables, with the remainder culinary flowers, herbs and spices. Each plant has a description, its wild origins, how to cultivate it, save its seeds or otherwise propagate it, storage of the seed and its medicinal and culinary uses. Permaculture, biodiversity, organics and companion planting are the principles that underlie the contents of this book.
This has been a reliable reference book not just on propagating and breeding your own vegetables, but also for how to grow and use both common (corn, tomatoes, beans, cabbages, etc.,) and unusual vegetables, such as tumeric, peanuts and several species of gourds. Included are many Asian and South American vegetables, herbs and spices.
30,000 of the original Australian edition have been sold with another 30,000 copies of translations and adaptations sold around the world.