I usually make it through the Winter season fairly well up until this point…then I’m just plain ready for Spring! Those teasing days of warmth and then back to the cold and wind just make my mood all muddled! Luckily, there are some fun things that I, and anybody else feeling the same way, can start to do.
I’ve been extremly fortunate and blessed to grow up not only with my parents, but with my grandparents in the same house. My grandma has had a huge influence in my life in more ways than I could ever say, but among other things I became interested in gardening through her. I enjoyed observing her in the garden with the flowers or vegetables , always hard at work, and would sometimes help her plant. Gathering our produce has always been somewhat comical, as well. Every year, we always wait for the club-sized cucumbers that can double as a weapon or the little sprigs of brocolli about the size of a finger. Last year my mom decided to plant potatoes for the first time. We all laughed as she dug up the itty-bitty spuds; some were only gumball sized. Nevertheless, the food is always tasty and organic, and besides, what some would call these gardening “snafu’s,” actually turn out to yield quite a bit of tasty food for a small garden.
It wasn’t until last year that I decided to try my own luck with a garden. My grandma helped me dig out a little patch next to her garden, and I planted my first plants: Organic tomatos, hot peppers, broccoli, lettuce varieties, cucumbers, and basil. The garden did not do tremendously well, by my own fault: I started the seeds much too late since I was away in the spring and lacked in planning it all out. But this year, I vow to start early. I’ve already consulted OWL’s expansive gardening collection and found many exciting gems! Here are a few that I picked (There were so many good ones, but I had to control myself. Definitly head over to the gardening section to check out the others!)
Eat More Dirt: Diverting and Instructive Tips for Growing and Tending an Organic Garden– You have to start with healthy dirt, and this little book is a load of fun to read and has many interesting tips for keeping your garden pest free. For example, who would have thought that a smelly, sweaty undershirt would keep racoons and beavers away or that aloe vera juice sprinkled on your plants keeps rabbits from nibbling! You’ll enjoy reading the creative chapter sub-titles throughout the book too. (635.048 SAN)
Ortho’s Complete Guide to Vegetables-Informative with nice color photographs. Gives growing and planting information, as well as ideas for how to prepare your harvest. (635 HER)
Home Grown by Denys De Saulles- This book covers it all: fruits, vegetables and herbs, as well as treatments for better soil, crop protection (which I found some handy ways to prevent burrowing animals from getting under my garden!), and preparing/freezing your fruits and vegetables. (635 DE)
Success with Organic Vegetables by Yvonne Cutherbtson-This book has a nice A-Z Plant Directory, that includes such things as: USDA Zone, description of the plant, sowing and harvesting, where to grow it, how to grow it, average yield, maintenance, harvesting and storing, and pests and diseases. There are also nice tidbits of information interspersed; little did I know that hanging a banana from the stem of a tomato plant can help in the ripening process. (635 CUT)
Better Homes and Gardens Step-by-Step Garden Basics– Whether your green thumb can’t get any greener or you are a novice, this book is a fine resource for all aspects of gardening. Beautiful photographs and easy step-by-step directions! (635 BAL)
Rodale Organic Gardening Solutions by Cheryl Long-Questions from real gardeners are answered throughout the book in the various chapters including Vegetables, Flowers, Fruit, Compost and Soil, and Pests. Just maybe you’ll find that your own question get’s answered with the help of this book! (635.048 LON)
Notes from the Garden by Henry Homeyer-I am a huge fan of diaries and journals-I love the thought-provoking prose and poetic voice that many of them evoke. Mostly, I love that you can find bits of yourself in another person’s writing. Henry Homeyer dedicates this book to his grandfather, whom he says taught him his love of gardening and to respect the earth and all living things, just as my mom and grandma have taught me. He writes over a one-year period from March-February. I especially like his section on Becoming a Gardner, and Furry Friends and Foes (he doesn’t believing in harming the little critters, nor do I!) There are also some delicious recipes included. (635.048 HOM)
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver-One of my new favorite books. I read this last season, and I believe it had a great influence on me wanting to produce my own food. It is inspirational and motivating in many ways. Kingsolver is an excellent writer and I especially love her humor. After I read the Library’s copy I bought my own because it was one of those books that I knew I would refer to often, especially for her delicious recipe recommendations. The book is chock full of juicy information and tidbits, and will definitly get you in the mood to start a green-garden revolution! (641.097 KIN)
I will start my seeds indoors soon and wait for the glorious air of Spring that will soon be upon us.
* Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. ~Rachel Carson*
Sarai is the Publicity Coordinator/Library Assitant and can already taste fresh garden tomato, basil and mozzarella salad and plump, sun warmed raspberries from our patch!
p.s. You might consider coming to see The English Lady, lecturer, writer and radio gardening expert, at OWL on April 28th!