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Planning Your Garden

Perhaps the most unique book for beginning gardeners published this year is The Comic Book Guide to Growing Food by Joseph Tychonievich and Liz Anna Kozik. While the title may seem like a joke, the book isn’t. It is a graphic novel that takes the beginning gardener through each important step from starting a garden to where in the yard, soil tests, choosing the right plants, when to plant, and how to maintain. All done in graphic novel format with the beginning gardener in conversation with a veteran. Two new books for beginning gardeners in more traditional format are: Growveg: The Beginner’s Guide to Easy Vegetable Gardening by Benedict Vanheems, and The Beginner’s Guide to Growing Great Vegetables by Lorene Edwards Forkner. The first one comes from the experts at the popular website Growveg.com and focuses on small-scale gardening projects with beginner-friendly instructions and step-by-step photographs. The Forkner book goes into soil, sun, and watering with regional planting charts and month-to-month guides.

For more experienced or ambitious gardeners two new books cover heirloom gardening: The New Heirloom Garden: Designs, Recipes, and Heirloom Plants for Cook Who Love to Garden by Ellen Ecker Ogden and The Heirloom Gardener: Traditional Plants and Skills for the Modern World by John Forti. The New Heirloom Garden book combines gardening tips with selected recipes. The author covers growing basics for heirlooms in the cabbage, carrot, and legume family among others and gives instructions for soil and compost. She offers 12 heirloom-based garden designs along with 50 rustic recipes. The Heirloom Gardener celebrates gardening as a traditional craft. The book covers heirloom flowers, traditional skills (such as distilling, wreath-making, and brewing) as well as organic gardening.

Another approach is made by Alison Candlin in The Backyard Homesteader: How to Save Water, Keep Bees, Eat from Your Garden, and Live a More Sustainable Life. It is a comprehensive, step-by-step, fully illustrated guide to planting, growing, harvesting, and storing vegetable and fruit produce. Her advice works for a small-acre farm, an allotment, or a backyard garden. She includes tips for keeping chickens, goats, pigs, bees, and other animals; how to collect and recycle water, and more. And then there is Home Sweet Houseplant: A Room-by-Room Guide to Plant Décor by Baylor Chapman. She introduces readers to dozens of low-light stunners and low-maintenance houseguests and offers dozens of creative planting solutions that make big impact in small spaces, from a kitchen window to a loft-sized living room. One example is four ways to turn you dresser into a style statement—urban bohemian, feminine glamour, sleek contemporary, or natural beauty.


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