14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2010
I am so excited to review and highly recommend blogger Andrea Bellamy's debut book: Sugar Snaps and Strawberries. Andrea-who can be found at one of my favorite gardening blogs, HeavyPetal.ca-wrote an inspiring book for those with a can-do spirit but not much gardening space.
One of my favorite parts of garden books are the pictures, and Sugar Snaps and Strawberries does not disappoint! The photos are beautiful, and inspiring, but they're also real, and attainable. You look at them and think "I can do this!" Another visually appealing aspect of this book is the overall design, it looks like a crafty person's scrapbook and makes the book feel very approachable.
The next thing on my list of requirements for a gardening book is actionable information that I can implement right away. Even though I've been gardening in one form or another for close to twenty years, I felt refreshed and re-inspired by Andrea's advice. I really appreciated the sidebars sprinkled throughout the book with quick "hey, try this" sort of tips. For example, on page 19, Andrea made a list of easy-to-digest info on making an edible garden beautiful, with ideas like "Aim for a variety of leaf shapes in your planting. Contrast crinkly leafed chard with fern like carrots and large leafed squashes with tall, slim straps of leeks."
Andrea really does a great job of holding your hand as you create your vegetable garden, but respects you enough to point you towards a vegetable garden that is just as pretty as any flower bed. Someone who has never gardened before can pick this book up, follow Andrea's advice, and be very successful. And those of us who have grown a tomato or two in our lives will find plenty of great ideas and advice to keep us flipping to the next page.
If you're looking for a last minute gift for the gardener on your list, Sugar Snaps and Strawberries by Andrea Bellamy is definitely it!
p.s. One of the photos in the book depicts a canoe completely packed to the brim with a gorgeous vegetable garden. You really can garden anywhere!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2011
As a new but aspiring gardener this book was by far the best tool I could have dreamed of. Although I got my copy from my local book store I was pleased by the amount of information on combining plants for optimal space, the suggestions and tips for deck gardening. There are fantastic photos, step by step instructions on things from mulching, to composing, to building a raised bed, and saving seeds at the end of the year. If you are looking for a great book on starting your first garden this is the book for you!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2011
Fantastic gardening book from the beautiful, bright, colorful photos to the easy to read text. A great read in itself, regardless of your current gardening style you will learn something from this book. I always gardened with my parents and have had my own garden for about 3 years and I definitely learned quite a bit. I highly recommend this book for beginner to intermediate gardeners, the info is complete and an easy to read. It's as if your next door neighbor or best friend was explaining gardening to you, in plain English and answering all your questions before you even have to ask. My favorite part was in the back where she lists all the common garden edibles and a thorough review of how, when, where to plant them, including notes on "companion planting" and specific varieties she recommends. Loved this book, learned a lot. The gorgeous photos are so inspiring. I have already implemented many of the new techniques she mentioned with great success. Two green thumbs up :)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
If you have limited space for gardening, you'll definitely appreciate this gem of a book. Whether you plan on having a rooftop garden, setting up a few pots on your patio, or even attempting a few pots in your home, this book will provide you the basics and add a lot of incentive to the mix. Simply browsing the pages is a visual delight and will make you want to dive in and immediately research the fruits and vegetables you'll want to grace your table as well as beatify your minimal "landscape." Even captions to photographs provide informative vignettes.
For example, there is a partial photograph of a raised bed that is domed by some chicken wire. The caption reads, "Dissuade larger pest such as cats from digging in newly cultivated beds by covering them with chicken wire or by keeping exposed soil frequently watered--they seem to prefer digging in dry beds." Believe me, in the past there has been no love lost between me and my neighbor's cat.
This book, which is conversational in nature, will especially appeal to the beginning gardener. The first chapter will help you explore you "garden style." One might find beauty and utility in a weathered gallon can of crushed tomatoes or might be interested in tucking red cabbage along the edges of an ornamental garden. Bellamy lays out several considerations you'll have to keep in mind when you design your "edible garden." For example you might want to think about a "few key design principles [that] can help you create a gorgeous edible garden." No, they aren't laid out in detail, but rather are tossed out for you to think about. After all, only you know what you have to work with and what appeals to you.
The second chapter asks you to "take the time to observe these [external factors] in your space before leaping in and planting." You'll have to consider things like your climate, hardiness zones, how much sunlight you have, the quality of your soil, drainage, wind, the amount of space you have, etc. Once you've pondered the basics, you'll learn about how you can find space, the assorted places you can build your garden, how to plan your plants, you'll learn the basics of your soil, how to sow seeds, what to do as your garden grows, how to maintain your garden, different types of planting (vertical, succession, winter gardening, etc.), how to harvest, and finally how to prepare for next year's garden.
This is an excellent instructional guide for the beginning gardener. Not only does Bellamy lay out the basics of gardening, but also includes a plant-by-plant reference guide in the back, "Edibles from A to Z." She has numerous "Top Pick" fruits and vegetables that she personally selected. Bellamy briefly discusses the plant and then gives information as to how to grow and harvest them, throws out a few tips, lets us know if they are suitable for container growing, discusses problems, and offers up some popular selections. There are numerous full-color photographs scattered throughout these pages. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, and a bibliography with listings of other books the reader may wish to explore. This is definitely a book the beginning gardener with limited growing space just might want to add to their list!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2011
So many times you are left mid-growing season scratching your head wondering what happened to your vegetables. So anxious to get planting there's often little thought to such details as what to plant where, what soil to use, how to optimize your soil, deal with pests and keep your food edible (i.e. no chemicals). But who wants to read a boring textbook on gardening when the sun is shining and your empty garden is beaconing, "Plant me!"? Enter Sugar Snaps and Strawberries. Written in plain language in an engaging, fun and light voice, this book is a fantastic guide and terrific reference to getting gardening right. So much so that you might find yourself glued to the pages and putting off your crops until you reach the last page! Follow even some of the advice in here and you'll be guaranteed to get better yields, and do more eating of the food you grow. When you have limited space, as Andrea suggests, maximizing what you plant can still be very rewarding. Even if you have more room, everything still applies.
Full of wisdom and gorgeous photos, and packaged in an attractive design, this book is worth every penny. Actually, come to think of it, for the cost of a bag of Farmer's Market veggies, this is the best investment you will make in your garden and your future food supply.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2011
Sugar Snaps and Strawberries by Andrea Bellamy is a fantastic how-to for creating your own garden in a small space. As a first-time gardener, I found this book extremely easy to read (I finished it in one evening, but can forsee returning to it frequently over the coming months as I plan, plant and harvest my garden). The author's writing style and breadth of knowledge makes me trust her judgement completely. Not only does Andrea share her insights into edible gardening, she illustrates her examples with the most amazing photographs. With images of sugar snaps and strawberries dancing in my head, I'm off to sleep to dream of all the wonderful things I'll be growing and feasting on this coming year!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Sugar Snaps and Strawberries is a good book for beginners and a good refresher course for those of us who have been gardening for a while. What I look for in a gardening book is one that is written by and individual with extensive gardening knowledge who has great information to pass along. Too many books are put out by publishing companies which are nothing more than coffee table books with colorful pictures and basic, basic info. This book is the former.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2011
Many books of this sort fall into two traps: either they talk down to you, assuming you not only are a neophyte but also an imbecile, or they cram page after page of minutae down your throat without proper illustration or visual support.
Andrea has managed to avoid both traps, writing a book that takes you through the paces (and pages) without talking down to you, but giving enough information and practical tips to get you where you want to go, all the while supported by beautiful photographs that will both inspire, and inform.
Well worth a read.
on September 10, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
A very basic book with useful information and lovely photography. I would make a great gift for that friend who wants to grow a green thumb.
on August 18, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Very useful book, with details about about each kind of plants, and also about the big picture issues: how to plan your garden,