The ubiquitous For Dummies series, while not known for pretty illustrations or lush photography, does manage to pack the maximum amount of information into an easy-to-read format--something that gardeners with an eye on the financial bottom line love. For vegetable gardeners, the right
information is especially important, because if you don't end up with edible food on the table, you've failed. Charlie Nardozzi and the National Gardening Association editors seem comfortingly aware of this fact, but they also want to make vegetable gardening fun and interesting, and to that end there's a lot more here than just the standard tomatoes and zucchini. Bok choy, fingerling potatoes, kabocha squash, daikon radishes--they've included just about every vegetable you might be able to think of, with pithy recommendations of the tastiest and easiest-to-grow varieties.
The book's first three chapters deal with deciding what to plant, where to plant it, and when. Nardozzi then turns the bulk of the book--nine chapters--over to the vegetables themselves: the tomato (the most popular vegetable for the home gardener); the pepper and eggplant; root crops; legumes; vine crops; cole crops, such as broccoli and cabbage; greens; and sweet corn and unusual vegetables. A special chapter goes to nonvegetables like herbs and berries. The book's third section is devoted to gardening techniques, which more experienced gardeners may want to turn to immediately. There's good, solid information here on irrigation, mulching, reading a fertilizer label, companion and secession planting, and much more. As with all For Dummies titles, the resources listed in the appendix are comprehensive and up to date, and the index (without which any reader might be lost) is complete and useful.
About the Author
; Charlie Nardozzi has been around vegetable gardens ever since he was old enough to follow his grandfather around the potato patch. After spending his young years in the shadow of his Italian grandfather's farm in Connecticut, helping to bale hay, feed pigs, pick apples, and weed potatoes, he moved to Vermont to go to school.
He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1981 with a degree in plant and soil science. The next step was to see the world, and Charlie spent nearly three years in the Peace Corps in Thailand, helping farmers grow everything from rice (not that Charlie felt he really could tell them how to grow rice) to garlic, chili peppers, and mangoes. He returned to the United States and received a master's degree in education, again from the University of Vermont. After working as a landscaper, at local nurseries, and at the County Cooperative Extension Service office, he ended up as horticulturist at the National Gardening Association and has been there for the past ten years.
Not only does Charlie write for National Gardening magazine and contribute to many of the ...For Dummies® series gardening books, he has a local call-in gardening question-and-answer radio show, is often seen on TV as the gardening expert on such shows as HGTV's Today at Home, and gives talks to gardening groups across the country. Heck, you'll even see him on the National Gardening Association Web site, answering questions there, too! At home, he tends demonstration gardens with his herbalist wife Barbara, stepson Zander, daughter Elena, and Toby the cat.