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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Finally, A Veg Book That Has Everything!

OK, I'll admit it. I'm a bookaholic. My shopping list on Amazon is 5 pages long. It's so easy to do that one-click shopping thing! I've collected quite a pile of garden books from the convenience of my computer. Sometimes though, I am incredibly underwhelmed when the book arrives and it doesn't meet my expectations even though I've read the customer reviews that have mostly been favorable. Now I only hit the "buy" button if the book has the "see inside" function. That function has saved me from selecting something that will ultimately be a waste of money.

Every once in a while I find a real gem of a garden book that will end up with bent corners and dirt stains on the pages. My latest find is the newly published book, "What's Wrong With My Vegetable Garden? 100% Organic Solutions for All Your Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini" (why publishers have to have such long tag lines in titles is a mystery to me), co-written by Botanist David Deardorff and Garden Coach, Kathryn Wadsworth (Timber Press). This book is so well organized and cross-referenced that it requires only 249 pages, and that includes the index. It's a terse and pithy veg database in a paperback form.

The book starts out with how it is organized (like you can't figure that out yourself with this one) and the best way to use it.The introduction also contains information on recognizing cultural problems in the garden such as adverse water, soil, light and temperature conditions and how to best avoid issues from the get go. Further divided into three main sections, the first section addresses many of the common vegetable species planted in the garden. These pages are outlined in green so you know where this section starts and ends. The next section divides common plant problems by crop family. The final section guides the reader as to what general  proactive organic solutions work for common problems like wildlife helping themselves to your crops, row covers and blasting bugs with the hose.

What sets this book apart is the cross-referencing within each section. You never have to hunt for the information. Simply look up the veg you're interested in, read the general information required to grow it and, if you need help diagnosing a problem, there's a page number located under the title that directs you to that information. When you get to that page, there's a chart on symptoms, diagnosis and solutions. In addition, the solution column further directs you to detailed information.

This book was definitely written by filers (they do have their uses). The information is concisely laid out in colorful charts and even though the photos are small, they are very clear. This book offers nearly infallible means of diagnosing and treating plant problems. If you could only buy one veg garden book, then this is the one you should get. I think that the many other veg books sitting on my shelf will start gathering dust now that I've discovered this great reference.

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