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Monday, January 10, 2011

I Love This Gardening Book, And Here's Why:

Quite by accident, and I do mean I just happened to see it on the New Books stand as I walked past it at the library yesterday, I picked up Homegrown Harvest: A Season-by-season Guide to a Sustainable Kitchen Garden, which is a publication by the American Horticultural Society, edited by Rita Pelczar.  Boy, what a find!  I have to get myself one of these, and will, once I take a look at some other, non-related subjects that I put on hold at the library.  I try to order enough for free shipping at Amazon when I can, so I want to take a look at a couple of books before I order them.  I know, I know- I said I was going to keep it to a minimum. But- I do have books in the budget, three hundred dollars for the year, and I think this book is well justified.

Instead of organizing the book by fruits, vegetables, trees, etc., as most books of this ilk are, it's organized by season, with the granularity of early season, mid season, late season.  So you could argue that it has twelve sections, which corresponds almost monthly, depending on what your climate is like.  It may be a bit of a stretch for a new gardener who is not terribly familiar with where on the calendar each part of the season hits for their area, but for anyone else it should prove to be very helpful.  On second thought, it could be the perfect book for the new gardener, because it gives information on getting started- the new gardener will learn soon enough how the seasons hit their garden.  The book tells you what you should be planting and doing in the garden now, which is exactly what I need to know.  It also tells you what from the garden you can still be enjoying at any given time, and it give cultivation tips and information for each thing.

The vegetable sowing and harvesting charts that start on page 278 are organized by region, as in cold-winter, mid-temperate, and mild-winter, and each of those sections is further organized again into early spring, mid spring, late spring, early summer, etc.  So unless you're a clueless idiot, you really can't go wrong (barring the vagaries of the whacky weather we've all been having lately, and frankly, on some subjects, I'm a clueless idiot).  Of course there's a section on dealing with pests and diseases.  It's also peppered with pruning and cultivation instructions; now I know what a canker looks like on an apple and I also know what to do about it.

It's interspersed with various subjects, like growing vegetables in containers, how to grow fruits in small spaces, using green manures, as well as specifics on various things, like tomatoes and native fruits and other subjects.

I am a sucker for the beautiful pictures, but the kicker for me really is the advice on what to do when, because that is what I struggle with the most, next to making good compost.  Really, this book covers absolutely everything, and I think I can make space for it on the bookshelf by getting rid of a few other gardening books that I already have.

So I hope my library holds hurry up and come, because I'm very anxious to order Homegrown Harvest for myself.


Miriam said...

You always have great book suggestions. I had a look at The Resilient Gardener because it appeared under "What I'm reading" here on your blog, and it's a fabulous book. So I'll look for this one, too!

Marianne said...

Hi Paula,
you need to own this book! and it's in the budget, so go for it. being frugal doesn't mean denying yourself absolutely everything, and you've stopped and taken a good long look at the situation and besides, it'll help you grow your own.
when I'm ordering on amazon I also check out the 'other sellers'/marketplace. you never know, you could get it at a fraction of amazon's cost.

Rae said...

That book sounds absolutely PERFECT! Finally, a gardening book that seems logical. Go figure. Holy cow, do I ever need something like it! I'm definitely hopping on the library website and finding a copy. Thanks for the suggestion! It's January, it was 27 degrees at my house this morning, and I'm already feeling twinges of spring fever. Must be the beautiful sunshine we got today. :)

Paula said...

Miriam and Rae- I think you will really like the book.

Marianne- checking out the other sellers on Amazon is a good idea- thanks for the suggestion.

The other thing about this book is that because they describe things by type of climate (cold winter, temperate winter, mild winter) and by season (and not by month), this book should be able to be used by folks in Europe, or corresponding places in the southern hemisphere.