Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
My new favorite - Packed with very practical, useful info
on March 25, 2012
Sidebars, tidbits, authentic down-to-earth advice make this my new favorite gardening book!
I have a lot of gardening books and have grown tomatoes for many years, so when I was given this book I had low expectations.
But Mike McGrath really knows his stuff. He doesn't promote buying lots of things I don't already have in order to guarantee success.
(But he also knows gardeners will do it anyway: Page 32 One of the greatest things about seed-starting is that you can go out and buy lots of stuff and actually claim you are going to save money by doing so. It's probably going to turn out to be a lie, but hey - the shopping is still fun.)
Unlike some books that can overwhelm with all the possible causes for failure. Mike keeps things practical and useful - Page 39 - Overwatering kills more plants than everything else combined.
In addition to the humor that keeps the book fun to read and his points memorable, Mike jams a lot of information into the pages. I like the fact that the sort of information you'll want to reference quickly for comparison is nicely formatted into charts and tables. For example the Top Tomatoes chart includes color photos of the variety next to his comments, heirloom/hybrid, determinate/indeterminate etc.
Mike puts flimsy storebought "cone" cages in their place then tells you how to build (not buy) a worthy example yourself from fencing wire.
The sections on soil and pests are worth the price of the book alone. I'm now collecting my egg shells and will try his tip - one dozen crushed egg shells per plant -to surround it with slow-release calcium to avoid blossom end-rot - when the bottom part of the fruit goes bad and turns black just as the tomato is getting ripe.
As an experienced gardener, I learned a lot from this book. But it would also be good for someone starting out. If you knew nothing about gardening or tomatoes - Mike gives it to you straight. You'll be guaranteed to have a decent first-year crop while saving yourself from buying a lot of hokey, un-needed stuff.