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Maria Rodale's Organic Gardening (Your Seasonal Companion to Creating a Beautiful and Delicious Organic Garden) Hardcover – November 1, 1998


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Maria Rodale, who comes to organic gardening naturally--her father and grandfather, who founded Rodale Press, were famously passionate organic gardeners--felt for many years that while there was plenty of good information about organic gardening, there was neither an existing primer that taught all the very basics nor a book that showed that organic gardening can be a beautiful, sophisticated way to plant. ("Admit it, you thought that if you were an organic gardener, you needed to have black plastic mulches and aluminum pie plates to scare the birds and rabbits, didn't you?") So she wrote this one, which, from the discussion of planning your garden on graph paper and the tips on digging up grass to the recipes for using the fall harvest, is utterly, seductively beautiful.

The seasonal organization of the book does sometimes seem almost incidental, save for the calendar pages that show what to plant and what tasks to do during each month. But the discussion of seeds--the various types, where to get them, how to start them indoors--plus Nana's kugel recipe will keep new organic gardeners from chafing at the bit during the winter, and the interviews with numerous long-time organic gardeners make great reading throughout the year. Rodale shows great sense in deciding what's important to new gardeners and those just deciding to go organic. Pests, both animal and plant, are the great fear of potential organic gardeners, and many pages in the book are devoted to weeding effectively, beating the bugs, and gently monitoring the animal population (getting a dog or cat is one good, low-effort solution to keeping a number of destructive small mammals out of the root systems). Rodale's excellent photographs--of her children, her garden, the Rodale Institute farm--appear on almost every page of this artfully designed book. It's a joy to read, and will inspire many a fresh organic tomato. --Barrie Trinkle

From Publishers Weekly

In this debut of a new generation of America's first family of organic gardening, the author shucks the down-home, quirky pragmatism of her forebears to cultivate a more genteel interest in the style and pleasure of gardens. The theme behind this seasonally arranged almanac is that organic gardens can be beautiful and will produce delicious vegetables and fruit. A dizzying kaleidoscope of personal memoirs, philosophy and information is loosely organized into a legion of lists (everything from "easy steps to make your dreams come to life" to good bugs/bad bugs) and ubiquitous info bytes ("11 reasons why you should never, ever use chemicals again" and "five ways to dig up grass") and a few too many common-sense recipes (Mashed Potatoes, Corn). The breadth of subject matter is the strength of this bookAand its weakness. Although gardening neophytes will encounter encouragement and helpful advice, many will find that the fluffy or self-evident tips weaken the book. Rodale says, "This is not a book about how fabulous my own garden is. It's far too new and immature.... Maybe in another 30 years I will do a book on my own beautiful yard." Gardeners with some experience may opt to wait for the author's own maturing as a gardener and a writer. 600 color photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Press (November 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087596799X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875967998
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 1.1 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,383,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Maria Rodale is Chairman and CEO of Rodale Inc. in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, which specializes in information for healthy living on a healthy planet. She is married and has three daughters, a dog, a cat and 6 guinea hens. In her spare time, she blogs at mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Terrie on February 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The beautiful photograph on the front cover showing my favorite flower, the Bleeding Heart, virtually guaranteed that I'd be taking this home with me. I was not disappointed! This is my favorite gardening book of a pretty extensive collection. It is large and so filled with gorgeous photographs that it almost qualifies as a "coffee table book" except for the fact that it is also chock full of very smart and useful information about organic gardening plus well written inspirational tid-bits from Maria Rodale's personal gardening life history. It is divided up into seasonal sections and is a very effective spring fever reliever. I love to dream over the photographs and gardening suggestions when everything is dormant under a blanket of snow. Maria writes as though she is talking to a friend, sharing charming anecdotes, her favorite tools, cherished recipes. Her garden is a lovely, inviting place where the whole ecosystem is respected including the so-called "pests." Do you want to know what to feed a hummingbird? Maria tells you. How about ten ways to eat a tomato? Yum. Maria's there for you. As she says, "Life takes creative thinking. Practice in your garden." I find that after a few minutes with this book my own creativity blossoms. The genuine passionate love for gardening and the green world that is between these pages when combined with all the useful practical ideas and philosophical encouragement makes for a real treat.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Roger Asbury (evinrude@gvea.net) on April 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a budding organic gardener this was an excellent book that not only kindled my interest in the subject but was also incredibly educational. They layout of the book by seasons makes for a fun read. Ms. Rodale gives excellent tips (and great recipes!) for each season. The interviews are fun to read, and include some very interesting personalities.
If you are an organic gardener, buy this book! If you are not, buy this book anyway, it may turn you into one.
My only complaint (and it's not aimed at this book in particular) is that most authors of gardening books forget about those of us in the dreaded near-arctic zones. Short growing seasons and long winters can be a pain! :)
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Weegie Pratt weegie@iinc.com on August 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The Maria Rodale's Organic Gardening:Your Seasonal Companion to Creating a Beautiful and Delicioius Garden is breathtakingly beautiful. Organized by seasons, bursting with information,techniques for gardening and with a bonus of old family recipies, it is a book that will be referred to often. Maria's conversonational form of writing makes the book fun and easy to read. $24.50 is a very reasonable price for so much knowledge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Rose on July 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first checked this out from the library, and decided it was one of those books I needed to own. I highly recommend it, there is a lot of useful information that is timeless.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
And the photos are restful and inspiring as well. A seasonal guide to what to plant when, interspersed with some garden (and other) wisdom as well. A great read, and as reference.
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Maria Rodale's Organic Gardening (Your Seasonal Companion to Creating a Beautiful and Delicious Organic Garden) + Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Green Resource for Every Gardener
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