Friday, June 15, 2012

Book review and giveaway

{{This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Meemsnyc!}}

Yesterday was exciting because we picked our first tomatoes of the year (3 of them!). When it comes to tomatoes, I can take them or leave them but Michael loves them and it is a news-worthy event for him (he even called his cousin in Mississippi to share the news). As you may know, we have only a tiny space for vegetables - just a few tomatoes, a few peppers and herbs. This area is even underneath a dogwood tree for crying out loud but still manages to do quite well, thank you very much.


The vegetable gardening bug (maybe not the best expression) has already bit though and I've become intrigued by growing food. I've been experimenting with raised bed gardening at my mother's house but I'm usually there once per week which isn't enough time to devote to a vegetable garden. I have had successes (canteloupes) but more failures than boasts.


Timber Press has a great book out called "What's Wrong With My Vegetable Garden?" The book begins with full-color charts arranged by various types of problems and how to recognize them. For example, the first chart "How to Recognize Temperature Related Problems" has 3 sections: "The Symptom" ("leaves turn brown at the tips and along the edges") along with an excellent photo,  "The Diagnosis" ("leaf scorch: too hot combined with insufficient water") and "Solution" which lists a page number for further reference on how to combat the problem. There are also charts for soil-related problems and light-related problems.


"Plant Portraits" is an encyclopedic entry of vegetables A-Z (artichokes to zucchini) and offers a description of the vegetable, the season it does best in, garden uses and planting techniques and other aspects related to temperature, soil, light and water needs. The encyclopedia of vegetables is followed by more charts detailing various ailments for every vegetable and page numbers to find solutions to the problem. There is a final section on "Organic Solutions to Common Problems" which covers aspects such as building healthy soil, making raised beds, organic fertilizers, managing water, etc. There is even a section about critters and how to deal with them. 


Timber Press is doing a fantastic promotion for this book and other problem solving guides that they publish. The Timber Press GPS promotion will run until August, and each week they will be picking a reader-submitted question for their authors to answer.  The person who asks the chosen question will receive one of the problem-solving books, and anyone that submits a question will be entered to win the grand prize: a brand new iPad. Readers just have to enter their question on the GPS landing page, which you can see here.

Also, you can enter to win a copy of this book right here on my blog. Just leave a comment on this post and one winner will be randomly selected on Friday, June 22. Be sure to include your e-mail address if there isn't a link to it from your name. Good luck!

{{This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Meemsnyc!}} 


Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

25 comments:

  1. You may have discussed this before, but how do you keep the squirrels from eating the blooms on melons? My mother had a really green thumb for plants, but also had many tamed pet squirrels who seemed to have a mission in life to destroy her cantaloupes and watermelons. I would love to try if I could be sure of humanely keeping the cute little rodents away.

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  2. Phillip,
    You need to teach me how to grow tomatoes! I have almost 40 different types of plants in the garden and I can't get a tomato to save my life. I put it in the ground and it lives but only grows about 3 inches the entire season. What am I doing wrong?

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  3. That should have been 400. LOL Not 40.

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  4. Hey, we get excited about home grown tomatoes too!

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  5. Firezne, I've grown melons at my mother's house in Franklin County and I don't believe there is much of a squirrel problem. One thing you might check into is using netting to keep them out. There are various types you can buy to keep critters out.

    Randy, one trick is to remove all the lower branches and plant the entire tomato very deep (up to where the last set of leaves begin). I also put crushed eggshells in the hole to help prevent blossom end rot. Other than that, are yours getting lots of sun and water?

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  6. I highly recommend David and Kathryn's guide/book to veggie gardening to anyone thats interested, be it your a rookie gardener or an expert. One can never have enough tips on how to have a healthy, long lasting plant.

    -Tony Salmeron

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  7. I totally understand Michael's excitement! We have a number of cherry tomatoes that are almost red but are taking forever to ripen. Ella keeps trying to pick them, so we're working on patience :) Thanks for the book recommendation, it sounds like a good one!

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  8. Just beginning to become interested in vegetable gardening and these suggested book(s)sound as if they would prove useful! Love your blog and the beautiful photos.(dayclear@yahoo.com)

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  9. Thanks Phillip for the contest link. I asked a daylily question...for the win!

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  10. This sounds like the book I need to get! It's so frustrating when you know something's wrong but you can't figure out what. Thanks for sharing it!

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  11. I've just replanted my garden. A 4 inch rain a while back drowned my cantaloupes and watermelons. Then no rain got the rest. Since I took over my veggie garden in daylilies & iris I started a new garden and need to run water to it. I have green tomatoes, but they have a while before these heirlooms are large enough to cover a piece of bread. When my Cherokee purple's come in, I'll have to drop some off. Bet you'll like them.

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  12. The first tomato of the season is always the tastiest!

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  13. Haha, I love that Michael called his cousin! I'm the same way, and this year I'm trying tomatoes in pots on the deck, because last year the birds ate ALL my tomatoes. Maybe that book will tell me how to fix that problem!

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  14. Haha, I love that Michael called his cousin! I'm the same way, and this year I'm trying tomatoes in pots on the deck, because last year the birds ate ALL my tomatoes. Maybe that book will tell me how to fix that problem!

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  15. Our family alll call each other to report gardening excitement. Everyone likes the bragging rights for first blooms, first tomatoes etc. Even though June 22 is my birthday I don't need the book. I don't grow much in the line of food. I haunt the farmers market this time of year though.

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  16. We ate our first green beans, new potatoes and a few cherry tomatoes. I must admit I love them all. There's just something so special about food straight from the garden. I bet the book is good. Timber Press is a good publisher.~~Dee

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  17. I need this book!! I always have questions about what's going on in the veggie garden, when to pull diseased plants etc.

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  18. Slowly but surely I'm progressing toward using more of the garden for vegetables. It just makes more CENTS! :) Looks like a cool book!

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  19. I think I know what's wrong with my garden--it's way too small! Jeannine

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  20. I'm slowly but surely learning to garden in the south Phillip but I often ask myself that question! Would be happy to win this one!!

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  21. I need this book! So far my Nano-Farm is doing very well but last year my carrots were teensy and grew little shriveled brains at the top of their stem. I think I've solved the problem, but I won't know till I try to make a carrot cake with them! Throwing a few Tums into the planting hole helps prevent calcium deficiency with tomatoes.

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  22. Wow! The book really sounds interesting. Nice give away indeed.

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  23. not too late for your giveaway :) I didn't eat veggies till I started growing them! m langley @ acgi.com

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  24. I would love to win!

    Love your blog and I also enjoy Mad About Maida!
    I don't have room for a garden this year, but I've got tomatoes and peppers in containers on the patio. Maybe next year....

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  25. I always think I’m going to eat so healthy when the garden comes in, but my grocery list includes bacon for BLTs, cream cheese to stuff jalapenos and batter for fried green tomatoes.

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