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Kindle Review: Historic Gardening Read With Issues
on May 23, 2011
This Kindle book, "Home Vegetable Gardening -a Complete and Practical Guide to the Planting and Care of All Vegetables, Fruits and Berries Worth Growing for Home Use" was published in 1911. It was the first work by F. P. Rockwell, a prolific and well-known horticultural author of his day. He was founder of Home Garden Magazine. Among his many other accomplishments, he was the Sunday garden editor of the New York Times, and garden editor of McCall's.
"Waste of Time" or "I loved it" are not cutting it for me when making a decision of whether or not to add a particular publication to my e-collection, so here is my take on this book:
There are at least six issues for readers: (1) The information is 100 years old and outdated (ie use of coal ashes; broccoli "is a poorer cousin of the cauliflower...of little use where cauliflower can be grown..."). (2) This publication was intended for a larger gardening operation where you own a tractor, disc, etc. (onions can be stored in "a few barrels, with holes knocked in the sides...for a small quantity...") (3) It written in the verbose style of the day. (4) It is missing charts that should be there (especially lacking in the chapter on pest control). (5) As you would guess for its (free Kindle) price, it does not have illustrations that would enhance the text very much. (6) The TOC is NOT interactive, so you can't easily skip to the information that you are interested in.
All that said, its primary use would be in the historical arena. Add one star if you have a strong interest in heirloom varieties and historic methods of gardening.
Chapters include: requisites of the home garden, the planting plan, implements, manures and fertilizers, soil prep, starting veggie plants (advice on buying seed: "what you want for your good money is good seed, not cheap ink"), sowing and planting (includes the details of building a greenhouse and plant phonological indicators for planting outdoors which I have never seen), best varieties of vegetables ("you will have to suit yourself about corn." ), insects and diseases and methods of fighting them (replete with whale-oil soap, and formalin at 1 gill/15 gals water) , harvesting and storing (if no root cellar, use a room on the northern side of the house that can be kept at 40 degrees or lower, or a "prepared pit" in the garden, worth a try...), followed by similar chapters for pome (apple/pear, lots of familiar varieties here including Kieffer pear) and stone (plum/cherry/peach) fruits followed by information about berries and small fruits.
I enjoyed this book, and it is worth a read. However, you may find it on dry side, especially if the illustrations and charts are still not included, so bear that in mind. Unless you have a particular interest in the historical aspects of gardening, there may be more interesting reads in your Kindle to spend your time on...
2/10/13 edit: I removed my comments on the Kindle version I read, as I see that this edition has been updated, and likely improved.