My neighbor came over very excited with his new copy of The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible, by Edward C. Smith. He has had a small garden for years but his work took him away for weeks at a time. Now that he has retired, he is eager to devote himself to his garden. This book is a perfect guide for him or anyone with a vegetable garden. It is a hand holder for the beginner and has a lot of information for the veteran.
I have been trying to coax edibles out of my garden for a long time. Some years are more successful than others. Often, because factors (weather, water, pests) can be so different, some things do well and others not. The next year something else will perform splendidly.
So I borrowed Chester’s new treasure. As I paged through it I found it user friendly. The book starts with the fundamentals of gardening. This section would be a great start for a beginner. I skimmed through it and reread parts where I had questions or needed a review. It moves to a large section foc-using on individual vegetables with the normal how-tos, from start through harvest. The author includes a chart for each vegetable that hits the highlights, soil temp, depth to plant, time to plant, spacing, etc. I particularly appreciated the last line that stated how long seeds remained viable, as I often use seeds that are left from years past. Then I wonder why germination is so poor. Case in point I used last years onion seed, had poor results but the table said they were good for one year. Sure wish I read that last fall. The book moves on to pest troubles and diseases and finishes with a section on herbs.
There are great pictures throughout which add so much to a gardening book when one picture can actually be worth more than a thousand words. And it is peppered with charts that answer questions at a glance. After an initial reading, the book will become a regular reference. You have to remember Edward Smith lives in New England (it seems most authors of gardening books live in the northeast). So you have be aware of the fundamental differences between our two areas and know when to ignore his advice that only pertains to his area. For example one of Edward Smith’s themes is raised beds but here in the west, in some cases, they can dry out too much. The book is a vegetable gardening book and that is all it covers, no flowers or fruit trees. Which I like because that is where I need the help. I think you will like it too. Let’s hope the rains come and the sun shines!
This book and many other great gardening titles can get you started for free at your library!