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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Heirloom Vegetables Paperback – December 7, 2010

8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Chris McLaughlin has been an avid gardener for 30 years. She's a master gardener and garden writer whose work has appeared in magazines such as Urban Farm Magazine, The Herb Companion, and The Heirloom Gardener. Chris is a regular contributor to Vegetable and the feature writer for Vegetable Gardens at Suite 101. In between writing assignments, Chris teaches kids about gardening and wildlife.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Complete Idiot's Guide
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha; Original edition (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1615640525
  • ISBN-13: 978-1615640522
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,672,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The short story is that I'm a plant-freaky garden writer, blogger, and author. I live and breathe my work.

The long story is that:

I Was Taken From My Real Family and Raised by Wolves

I was an Old MacDonald child born into an IBM family. My brothers and I grew up being chauffeured around in one of those station wagons that had a third seat facing backwards. Looking out that big window, along with breathing in a little exhaust, I was able to take in expanses of land and watch it slowly disappear from view.

Along the stretches of highway, I would see property with fenced land and think how wonderful it would be to have a pumpkin patch right out here where everyone would see it and want to stop by. It could come complete with crisp cornstalks flanking the entry to straw bale mazes.

Looking back, I'm certain that my parents were masochists as they kept moving us to the suburbs that rested just on the shoulders of farmland. They carefully chose housing developments that seemed to always bring me within feet of my true love. I spent my weekends walking to nearby farms, pretending they were mine for a while.

When I shuffled back to my side of the fence, I was determined to create my own little farm. As I dug into the hard pan soil of our backyard, the difference in the freshly cultivated earth of the neighboring land was clear. Would it have really been a stretch for my parents to move one street away? But, I digress.

When I was ten, I snagged some Dixie cups from the upstairs bathroom and filled them with some potting soil out of a bag my mother had bought to top off the planters in our yard. Using a hand shovel, I carefully scooped up some small seedlings (I would later learn that they are called "volunteers") in our yard and transplanted them.

Being raised by entrepreneurs, my instincts told me there was a profit to be made. I lined probably fifty of those little paper cups into my younger brother's red wagon and rolled down the street selling them door to door for ten cents each. Looking back, I realize I made a 100% profit since I had zero start-up cost and no overhead (considering my mom's "donations" and the fact that being underage, legally, I was assured overhead until I was eighteen).

With over three decades of plants and soil behind me, I am very sure of just who it is I am.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shawna Coronado on January 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
Once again, garden author Chris McLaughlin knocks one out of the park! Hooray!

Want to know the WHY's and HOW's of growing heirloom vegetables? "The Complete Idiot's guide To Heirloom Vegetables" takes a definitive approach in educating you on the fundamentals of both heirloom vegetable growing and collection.

Heirlooms are packed with amazing benefits; nutritionally as well as flavorfully. In this book, Chris McLaughlin introduces readers to heirloom vegetables, gives advice on growing flourishing plants, educates on hand pollination, harvesting plants, and securing seed for next year's growth season as well as many other tips. Easy to read at 307 pages, the heaviest part of the book is dedicated to a detailed A to Z variety directory which can give readers insight into what varieties of vegetables are available to the modern day gardener.

I think this heirloom vegetable reference book is perfect for new gardeners and experienced gardeners to shorten the learning curve on heirloom vegetables.

Chris is also the author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Composting", which I use as a "compost bible" for my garden. I will keep "The Complete Idiot's guide To Heirloom Vegetables" right next to her composting book on my shelf as a quick reference for planting in garden season's to come, making the translation of heirloom plants easy to understand.

Thanks for a great heirloom vegetable reference book!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jaye on December 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This little book should help me grow my garden even better than last year. I've loved growing heirloom vegetables and this book has information about everything I can think of as the garden lies quiet for the winter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael C. Podlesny on June 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
I have to preface my review with this disclaimer and that is I am huge fan of all of Chris' books, so I was not surprised that her book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Heirloom Vegetables was outstanding.

If you are looking into growing heirloom variety vegetables for your family and wish to learn how to save the seeds from them so you can grow the same veggies in subsequent seasons, then this is the book you MUST buy!

Chris is going to give you a little heirloom history to start, with some wonderful accounts of varieties that have been passed on for generations. One story in particular gave me chills to know that the seed's legacy dates back quite a ways.

Everything is explained very thoroughly so that anyone can start their own heirloom gardens, and gives you many resources as to where you can get seeds and/or plants to give that garden a jump start.

She also touches on other topics surrounding gardening to help you out along the way, but not too much on these topics as to take away from the full meaning of the book, which is to focus in on heirloom vegetables.

I would highly recommend this book for any gardener or aspiring gardener's reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Diana S. Ward on March 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book offers good basic information about heirloom vegetables.i am writing a newsletter for people new to gardening .This was a great.reference book for me to use
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