August 25th, 2010
It’s been a brutally hot summer here in Connecticut, with a severe dry spell early on and drenching rainstorms later in the season. …come these dog days of August all this gardener wants to do is curl up with a good garden tome and dream of more temperate times. Even in this era of e-books, when I read I enjoy the real thing in my hand. There’s something about the heft and smell of paper; about the ability to make margin notes, or the gift-giving possibilities that render an electronic version of a book less suitable. Forthwith, here’s a couple of the better gardening books which have lately landed me in my green wicker porch chair with a cup of iced coffee at the ready.
Northeast Fruit and Vegetable Gardening
With mounting concern over whence our food hails, how it’s grown and what’s possibly in it, interest in vegetable gardening and orchard production is exploding. This is true even among long-time ornamental gardeners like myself, and especially among the younger set. Charlie Nardozzi’s Northeast Fruit and Vegetable Gardening, subtitled Plant, Grow and Eat the Best Edibles for Northeast Gardens (Cool Springs Press, 2012, $22.99) enables any and all of us to plan and plant the vegetable and small orchard garden of which we’ve always dreamed. Nardozzi covers location and design, building soil, growing from seed or sets, garden maintenance, trouble shooting pests and disease, harvest / storage and much more. The book is chock full of clear, colorful photographs (check out the close up of a tomato hornworm on page 79!) The second half delineates the easiest and best known vegetables, herbs and fruits grown in the Northeast, from artichoke to winter squash, from basil to parsley, and from apple to strawberry. The book thus serves as guide and guru to the beginner as well as the experienced vegetable and fruit gardener.
Beginners Illustrated Guide to Gardening: Techniques to get Help You Get Started.
No matter what type of gardening in which we indulge, no matter how long we’ve been at it, we all continue to need a little help along the way. Beginners Illustrated Guide to Gardening is written to assist anyone who wants to know more about gardening, but it’s especially helpful to first-timers. I’ve been gardening my whole life and I gleaned a tip or two with this little book by Katie Elzer-Peters. (Cool Springs Press, 2012, $21.99) In color-coded sections she covers the basics (what does the term “organic” mean; what are the proper names for tree parts) as well as some advanced information. There’s a primer on tools, a briefing on lawn care and information on caring for annuals, bulbs, perennials, trees and shrubs. All accompanied by unambiguous, vivid photographs. The author addresses mulches, weed and pest control and how to read a plant tag or seed packet. Her “Success Tips”, “Know the Lingo” and “Just Grow With It!” in each segment are invaluable. Each section relates what the reader will learn, what she’ll need, and tips for an “Instant Green Thumb”. The book is easy on the eyes, and rich with helpful details to help a gardener of any skill level become the best he can be!
Pundits opine that one way to keep our brains youthful is to try new things. One of the best ways to incorporate innovation with a minimum of trepidation is to read up on it first. Grab one of these tomes and dream away!