Gluttonous Book Purchases

Books bought in Portland

…Of which there are many when it comes to gardening since I can so easily convince myself they are for “work” rather than enjoyment. Nope. No enjoyment here. Purely for work. Incredibly necessary for The Very Important Work.

Clockwise from top:

  • Herbs: Partners in Life: Healing, Gardening, and Cooking with Wild Plants by Adele G. Dawson
  • Gardener to Gardener: Almanac & Pest-Control Primer – A Rodale book.
  • The Edible Ornamental Garden by John Bryan and Coralie Castle – It’s a bit old-school (copyright is 1974) but I like that it profiled plants that fall outside the norm like Spanish chestnut and birch.
  • Pantyhose, Hot Peppers, Tea Bags, and More-for the Garden – I generally have a really hard time looking past boring black and white gardening books but have really made an effort recently.
  • Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew – I haven’t read it yet but figured I should since so many other people seem to love it. On first glance it looks sort of like my method in that they are both about making economical use of space. However I am all about interplanting, or gardening in groupings rather than rows. My method is really informal yet logical. However, the day I pull out a string to measure or section off a row is… inconceivable.
  • A Book of Wayside Fruits by Margaret McKenny and Edith F. Johnston – This beautifully illustrated hardcover is from 1945. The concept of fruit is used less literally here to mean “fruit-bearing” plants rather than edible fruit bearing plants. Page 41 features a stunning illustration of one of my favourite poisonous berries, Bittersweet Nightshade.
  • Blue Corn & Square Tomatoes: Unusual Facts About Common Garden Vegetables by Rebecca Rupp – It’s almost embarrassing to admit but I love books that get into the historical and cultural tidbits that are so often overlooked or forgotten in the pursuit of how-to’s and growing facts.
Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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4 thoughts on “Gluttonous Book Purchases

  1. I like the ideas behind Square Foot Gardening, but I find Mel to be a bit egomaniacal. He calls his potting soil blend “Mel’s Mix,” for crying out loud. Compost, peat moss, and vermiculite isn’t exactly a staggeringly original idea.

    If the Rodale almanac book is the one I’m thinking of, I enjoyed it. It was fun to be able to see what people in other zones could be doing each month.

  2. I don’t know if you knew this, but there is a new Square Foot Gardening Book out. I get the stuff about “Mel’s Mix”, that is a little wierd, but in the newer book, he makes a list of why the new book is so much better than the old one. In the second book, he uses above ground boxes rather than in ground. He says it’s much easier, less weeds, and better for plants.

  3. I admit to being a fan of Square Foot Gardening. It is the style of garden that I use for my little organic salsa garden. However, I do not get out a ruler and measure. I do use the ideas of planting in squares, use his guides for how far apart to plant things, how to trellis for maximum space and not wasting seeds.

    I don’t pretend that Mel’s way is the only way, but when I was a beginner in the garden, his book was a wonderful guide to me and I’m glad that I found it.

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