Summer gardening

I love helping things grow. I admit it, I’m a pretty superficial gardener. I like to grow things you can eat. If you can’t eat it, but it grows large (sunflowers, gourds, and pumpkins and such – no one at my house eats pumpkins), that’s OK too. Gardening is very much an avocation, and one that I don’t like to get too bookish on. A lot of my reading about gardening is from the catalogs of seed companies. Three seed companies that I think are great are:

But I have, on occasion, actually read a book or two on gardening. One that was influential was Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew. It’s been said the three great tradeoffs are time, space, and money. The square foot gardening approach trades off time for space. It’s actually not that time consuming, but spending a bit of time thinking about what your garden will do, and planning to use space as efficiently as possible was definitely a new way of thinking for me.

A book that I’ve used more as a reference than for entertainment is the Sunset Western Garden Book. This book has an amazing amount of information for gardeners of all flavors. It provides a fair amount of information that is very specific to particular locations in the western US, but the majority of it applies to everyone. More gardening information that you can shake a hoe at, well organized and ready to eat.

Another book that frequently gets referenced is Rodale’s Garden Insect, Disease, and Weed Identification Guide. Here’s a full color guide to the problems plaguing your garden, complete with explanations and recommendations.

Here’s wishing you a successful summer in the garden!

One thought on “Summer gardening”

  1. brendan says:

    Perhaps you should re-title your post: “Manly Gardening”….

    Couldn’t agree more. I’ve got to be able to eat it, climb it, lug it around or clobber a rabbit with it.

    Although, I’d add one to my list: utilitarianism. Things like erosion control, shading, wind screening – or blocking the neighborhood children from my strawberry terraces with nice, sharp thorny things – are all chlorophyllic pursuits that can co-exist with my chromosomes.

    Some of my favorites over the years have been Dick Raymond’s books; he doesn’t carry on about flowers or pretty stuff or tropical wonder plants. He gets right to the important stuff, always saving a big section in the back on how to pick it, eat it, and/or use it.

    In fact, I recommend reading it backwards. Figure out all the great stuff you can eat and do with it, then work backwards to the trifling details of how to fell the mastadon (or corn stalk, as the case may be) and drag it home for supper.

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