temporary denial garden. So much for a tasty daily harvest of peas! I've got to have these plants moved out in time to plant my tomato starts and basil seeds, but since ‘round here that can’t happen until almost June it shouldn’t be a problem.
What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden? by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth, yes they are also the authors of What's Wrong With My Plant? (And How Do I Fix It?).
The book is divided into three sections; Plant Portraits, Family Problem-Solving Guides, and Organic Solutions to Common Problems.
In the “Plant Portrait” section they profile everything from arugula to fava beans, okra to spinach and of course tomatoes. There are 46 profiles in all, even more when you consider that some, like “onions, shallots, and scallions” are grouped together.
The “Family Problem-Solving Guides” are laid out in an easy to navigate chart that includes a full color thumbnail photo of the problem, a description of the symptoms, the diagnosis, and a list of solutions. The solutions are accompanied by the page number where you can learn more about the method they suggest….which brings me to the “Organic Solutions to Common Problems” section. Here they discuss solutions as simple as row covers and as complex as solving soil problems (Maybe not complex to you, but it is to me! Mention pH, Sulfer, Manganese…my eyes spin back in my head).
In the part on “planting polycultures” they point out by interspersing flowering annuals or perennials with your vegetables you help to attract the beneficial insects while confusing the pests (it’s harder to zero in on the scent of the tomato plant when there are other plants disguising them). They suggest marigolds as being particularly helpful, and not just to keep away slugs. I don’t know if I can go that far (marigolds!?) but I can see some bright cheerful nasturtiums winding through my tomatoes. Heck they’re edible too!
They also stress the importance of rotating your crops, “because each plant family has its own suite of pests and diseases.” I know this, and yet I keep planting my tomatoes in the same place. I have no choice, the stock tank planters are my vegetable garden! I tell myself it will be okay since I add new compost every year…but I feel like I’m playing a game of Russian roulette. So far so good…but will this be the year my tomato crop crashes and burns? Maybe with the help of this book I’ll decide on some other veggies to grow and alternate the tomatoes back and forth between the two tanks. I'm curious, do you rotate your crops?
Speaking of growing other veggies, if you haven't heard head over to the Timber Press website were you can enter to win an edibles prize package including:
- 35 packets of organic heirloom vegetable seeds from Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply (an $87 value!)
- A bare-root fruit tree, also from Peaceful Valley
- The Beginner's Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables
- Fruit Trees in Small Spaces
- The Edible Front Yard
- The Kitchen Gardener's Handbook
- Sugar Snaps and Strawberries
As I mentioned Timber Press sent me a complimentary copy of this book to review. Since veggies aren’t really my usual topic on here on danger garden I wasn’t sure I was going to write a review, but after reading the book I thought it had some great information and was worth sharing…after all we all need help keeping our plants healthy! I suppose a seasoned vegetable gardener might find the information a little basic, but for me I found it to be a very useful book.