Review: Mother Earth News Guide to Vegetable Gardening

I’m sitting back, relaxing a bit after doing some decidedly non-vegetable gardening for my mother. Weeding garden beds and replacing shrubs can really aggravate the arthritis, that’s for sure. So I’m taking some time to catch up on some reading—this time with a decidedly veggie angle to it.

I’m reading a review copy of Mother Earth News Guide to Vegetable Gardening. It’s the “no-gimmick, serious advice for growing fruits and vegetables,” the accompanying press release assures me. “It is gardening for the long haul; and a big welcome to the practice.” Let’s give it a look!

First thing I do with any book I’m considering is to turn to page 37 and read it through. For fiction books, I figure by page 37 the author(s) have figured out what they are doing. In this book, it being non-fiction, I just wanted to see if the style of communication was approachable. It was! The topic—low tunnels—was presented so convincingly that I may decide to give low tunnels a try this fall.

Then I turn to pages referenced in the table of contents pertaining to topics that concern me. Those would be weed control and pests. Did you know you can use a 5-6% vinegar solution to kill weeds? I’ve also recommitted myself to spot watering the plants that matter—the vegetables—thereby denying the plants that don’t matter—the weeds—the precious water of life.

On the pest control front, I was disappointed by the lack of specificity in that chapter. The focus was on approaching pest control rather than “this is how to defeat flea beetles.” The chapter did inspire me to learn more about identifying beneficial insects.

In the “All About Growing …” sections all through the book the authors share all about growing everything from asparagus to summer squash (which includes zucchini, for the A-Z aspect here). I found the half-dozen I’ve read so far quite informative: They offer suggested varieties, when and how to plant, harvest and store, and pest and miscellaneous tips. It’s the kind of information where, even if you think you’re an expert about growing lettuce, for example, you’ll learn a thing or three regardless.

In all, Mother Earth News Guide to Vegetable Gardening is a worthwhile read. I hope they are working on a pest control companion!

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