Wouldn't it be lovely to have a patch of corn, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and beans just steps from your kitchen door? Would you like to learn how to control your zucchini plant? Ed Smith, an experienced vegetable gardener from Vermont, has put together this amazingly comprehensive and commonsensical manual, The Vegetable Gardener's Bible
. Basically, Ed and his family have been growing a wide variety of vegetables for years and he's figured out what works. This book, filled with step-by-step info and color photos, breaks it all down for you.
Ed's system is based on W-O-R-D: Wide rows, Organic methods, Raised beds, Deep soil. With deep, raised beds, vegetable roots have more room to grow and expand. In traditional narrow-row beds, over half the soil is compacted into walkways while a garden with wide, deep, raised beds, plants get to use most of the soil. In Ed's plan, growing space gets about three-quarters of the garden plot and only about a quarter is used for the walkway. Ed teaches you how to create raised beds both in a larger garden or in separate planked beds. One of the most important--and most often overlooked--aspects of successful vegetable gardening is crop rotation. Leaving a crop in the same place for years can deplete nutrients in that area and makes the crop more likely to be attacked by insects. Rotate at least every two years and your vegetables will be healthier and bug-free. There's also a good section on insect and blight control.
Before choosing what to grow, go through the last third of the book, where Ed takes a look at the individual growing, harvesting, and best varieties of a large number of both common and more exotic vegetables and herbs. Whether you are a putterer or a serious gardener, The Vegetable Gardener's Bible is an excellent resource to have handy. --Dana Van Nest
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
A committed organic gardener, Smith is a proponent of staggered planting in raised, wide and deep beds that provide conductive root systems and produce abundant harvests. He explains his system, from optimum siting and soil preparation (he prefers broad-forking over rototilling or double-digging) to companion planting and compost ("The path to the garden of your dreams leads right through the middle of a compost pile"). For beginners, he takes the mystery out of such subjects as hardening off ("like a little boot camp for vegetables") and deciphering the shorthand used in seed catalogues. An abundance of photographs (most of Smith's own garden) visually bolster the techniques described, while frequent subheads, sidebars and information-packed photo captions make the layout user-friendly. The book concludes with an alphabetically arranged listing of vegetables and herbs in which Smith offers advice on every aspect of cultivation, as well as a selection of the most flavorful varieties. Smith doesn't necessarily break new ground here, but his book is thorough and infused with practical wisdom and a dry Vermont humor that should endear him to readers. (Feb.)
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