Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Postage Stamp Garden:Grow Tons of Organic Vegetables in Tiny Spaces and Containers by Karen Newcomb-- Completely Revised

PictureHubby and I have been gardening in raised beds for over a decade now.  I've never really been trained about what to do, but have just experimented with intensive plantings and sometimes multiple crops. Despite the deer and rabbit damage, we have supplied many, many vegetables for our summer and fall eating.  When I had the opportunity to review THE POSTAGE STAMP GARDEN (updated version) by Karen Newcomb for Blogging for Books, I knew I was interested.

Karen's book takes you through all the steps of getting the most out of a small garden plot, beginning with a chapter on planning the garden before you do anything else.  I confess I am weak in this area, I usually have a plan in my head, but I fail to get it down on paper, and too often the plan changes as Russ prepares the beds and I actually sow.  This is definitely an area I can improve and I am going to look at that chapter closely over the winter months for garden 2016.  Karen also devotes  whole chapters apiece to the soil mix and getting the ground ready.  As I said, we have a series of raised beds and one garden strip; each year we try to build up the soil.  This has been a long process as the soil was very low in organic matter when we began.  Small space gardening needs to keep the soil nourished and Karen gives good advice.  Next, comes advice about when and how to plant -- lots of good charts in this chapter.  I had never heard of using Mother Nature's guide (what is blooming or budding in the spring flowers/trees) as a guide, but that makes total sense and I will be looking over that chart more carefully for my early crops next year.  Karen also gives great "spacing" lists which is a big help for any container, small space, or raised bed gardener because the seed packages and plant stakes always give numbers based on row gardening.  Further chapters include watering a small garden (thorough, but too frequent), heirloom varieties of vegetables and herbs, plants that like each other, and controlling pests.  One appendix takes you through composting and another is a seed source.

I have been gardening since I was a little girl, but don't consider myself any kind of expert.  I think this book will be a handing reference for future years and I may be doing a little experimenting in the future, with companion planting, successive crops, and heirloom varieties.  This book is not one of those gardening books with tons of color photos of elaborate, 10+ rated gardens.  I've bought those books before and they become nothing but coffee table books because my garden will never look that way.  Newcomb's book is a valuable, inexpensive tool that any gardener would appreciate.  Even a master gardener will appreciate a fresh perspective and some handy hints.

Thank you to Blogging for Books for the opportunity to review this book.

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