When I meet someone new and find out he or she loves to garden, it seems as if we immediately hit on an endless vein of common interests.
Soon, we are deep in a discussion of soil and pests and cultivars and comparing lists of what we grow. I seize on their success stories of growing something I’ve always wanted to try, and we commiserate over common failures.
This book is a lot like a conversation, or a series of conversations (chapters), with another gardening nut, er, enthusiast. Especially for those who love edible gardening, “food forest”/permaculture concepts, and pushing the limits of common local plant boundaries.
The gardeners/authors of this book show what can be done (or not) in the most inhospitable of circumstances: small space, limited sun, poor soil, harsh climate, even mischievous neighbor children. It is part instruction, part memoir, but mostly just an interesting tete-a-tete with knowledgeable and experienced plantsmen.
It’s one thing to read a description of a plant in a catalog, another thing to hear from someone who has practical experience with that plant–how vigorous it is, how long it takes to produce, what it tastes like, how much it yields, what pests and other problems it has, etc. This book is helpful because it answers those questions for many of the unusual, permaculture-friendly types of plants with which fewer people have significant experience. Plus there are chapters devoted to nectary plants, nitrogen-fixers, and perennial vegetables (about which Toensmeier has written an entire, other book) with information about how they work in the garden.
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