I have been dreaming of my garden lately. I have not had a ‘real’ garden in almost 5 summers. That is a long time for a country to city transplant to go without a real plot of dirt. When we had bought what we thought was our forever home, we saved up to put in a beautiful garden plot. We were even able to water it with a small submersible pump we hid in the reeds that grew at the edge of the creek that flowed behind our house. Man oh man, stuff GREW. A little green algae and some fish poop in the water and we had bumper crops, let me tell you.
This picture was actually taken at the end of the growing season, so things are looking a little tired. We had just gotten things the way we really wanted and then moved for a job opportunity for Goose. Never cling too tightly to material things.
But, back to the present. This summer, there needs to be more dirt and less grass in our wee back yard. The past few years have been a learning curve, in terms of figuring out how to grow ornamental plants and the handful of tomato plants we have put in. It is incredible how different soil and climate conditions can be, even if we only moved three hours away.
This is what we have to start with. As you can clearly see, it won’t take much to kill off what little grass there is.
DK Books has a series of garden and plant books that are going to help a great deal with this spring project. The first, Kitchen Gardening for Beginners, takes you step by step through every phase of fruit and vegetable gardening. Beginning with assessing and improving your soil, to ‘critter proofing’ your plot, right through to storing and preserving your bounty.
This book is packed with all kinds of useful information that should make our little plot of dirt as fruitful as possible. Tips like crop rotation, composting, fertilizing, and even the different types of materials you can use to build your garden and beautify it. If you have never planted a vegetable garden before, this would be a fantastic place to start.
To keep you garden, vegetable or otherwise, growing well, Garden Rescue is well, to the rescue. Every conceivable but infestation, mould, fungus, or other plant damaging event is covered. There are loads of details photographs to help you distinguish between a harmless (or perhaps helpful) critter and one that requires immediate action so that you get to reap the fruits of your hard labour before it does. The photographs in this book are what really set it apart from so many other ‘what’s wrong with my plants?’ books. Highly detailed, up close, and full colour, telling the difference between a funny growth pattern and a real problem.
Still having trouble deciding what to plant? Unsure of what will grow well in your zone (did you know you have a zone?), or with your soil type, or in that shady spot in the back yard? Or maybe you are just the kind of person who loves useful books full of stunning photographs. My own copy of the Canadian Encyclopedia of Gardening has been absconded by a landscaping friend of mine. This book, in her words, is like eye candy. Neither she or I could come up with a single plant that isn’t covered in this tome.
And once you have harvested all of that bounty? The Kitchen Garden Cookbook has recipe suggestions that will help you cook and preserve through all four seasons. In fact, many of the recipe suggestions alluded to in Kitchen Gardening for Beginners can be found in their entirety in this book. I am looking forward to using this book once our own garden gets in the ground and begins to yield something. The book has been broken down into seasonal cooking and vegetables. Some of the recipes are pretty familiar – like strawberry compote or charred asparagus. Others are more exotic and refreshing – like fresh mint cordial or pumpkin and apple soup. There are tips, as well, for storing your produce to get the most out of it.
Right now, these books are on sale from the DK Earthly Pleasures Boutique, but for a limited time only.
Now the good part for all of my avid gardening readers. DK Books has generously offered Kitchen Gardening for Beginners and Garden Rescue to one very lucky Canadian reader. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Contest ends May 10, 2013