Our new Bazaar is up focused on all things gardening, like these lovely herb garden plant markers by Nina Gibson Designs. (You can visit Bazaar or any of our other sections anytime via the gray sub-navigation above.)
As an added treat today, Susan Beal brings us two great garden book reviews, Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades and The Sunset Western Garden Book of Edibles. She’s also giving away a copy of each book on West Coast Crafty!
Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades
By Steve Solomon (Sasquatch Books)
The subtitle of this regional gardening bible is “The Complete Guide to Organic Gardening,” and Steve Solomon brings thirty years of experience and a constantly updated and rewritten body of work (this is the sixth edition!) to a compact and text-driven wealth of information.
Chapters are neatly organized in big categories like Soil, Planning, and Seeds. I found the most valuable section to be the final chapter, How to Grow It, which has vegetable varieties arranged alphabetically and gives real, specific hands-on advice on each one.
This book feels more informative than inspiring in certain ways — there are very few illustrations and tables to break up the text. But whether you’re a visual learner or not, it’s a huge and helpful tool for the gardening in the western half of the Pacific Northwest, and I think some of the more general advice would be very helpful for organic gardeners in any part of the world.
The Sunset Western Garden Book of Edibles
This gorgeous, colorful book has all the instant page appeal of Sunset’s monthly magazine, and the many photos throughout bring the ideas and information shared to life. The book is divided into types of edibles, from Vegetables and Herbs to Berries, Fruits and Nuts, and the alphabetical listings are all punctuated with lush photos of the plants. Handy symbols and notes in each entry show you what kind of sun and watering they’ll need, and big categories like tomatoes and apples have plenty of extra information on varieties.
This book is a beautiful go-to for easy reference for beginners and more experienced gardeners alike, with bonus sections on Garden Design and a Practical Guide (covering all the big points of starting and successfully maintaining your garden). I really appreciated the many great ideas for small-space, raised-bed and container gardening, very handy for those of us with small yards or just a windowsill or patio to work on. Like Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, I think this very useful regional book could be adaptable, too, no matter where you are.
About the Author:
Susan Beal is a crafter and writer in Portland, Ore., who loves to drink coffee, sew, and make things with buttons. Her book, Button It Up, is out now!