Everyone loves good food. Fresh, tasty, nutritious food is our birthright. And what better way to have great food than to grow it yourself? ~Charlie Nardozzi
One of the most important things in growing a vegetable garden are the pollinators. If someone doesn’t tell you this, you might miss a very important piece in the puzzle of growing your own food. And it is so appropriate to talk about pollinators as this is the start of Pollinator Week.
Pollinator Week was founded by Pollinator Partnership. If you don’t know about this organization you should check out their website. These folks are dedicated to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems.
This, now, international celebration of bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles was started 6 years ago by the U.S. Senate who designated a week in June as “National Pollinator Week”. This celebration brings the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations to the forefront every year.
And why are pollinators so important? Well in my neighborhood with mostly grass and shrubs, the pollinators take up residence under shingles and shutters where they are summarily exterminated. Why don’t I have this problem? Well I have gardens of flowers and veggies. I don’t spray chemicals so they can nest in the ground in bare patches. I provide nectar and pollen, pollinator houses and tree stumps. And I am not afraid of the bees because I know without them, we humans would be doomed.
Here are some great facts about pollinators:
- Successful pollination results in the production of healthy fruit and fertile seeds, allowing plants to reproduce. Without pollinators, we simply wouldn’t have many crops.
- About 75% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators for fertilization and over 200,000 species of animals act as pollinators. Of those, about 1,000 are hummingbirds, bats and small mammals, such as mice. The rest are insects, such as beetles, bees, ants, wasps, butterflies, and moths.
- Worldwide, approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the resources on which we depend.
- Foods produced with the help of pollinators include apples, strawberries, blueberries, chocolate, melons, peaches, figs, tomatoes, pumpkins & almonds.
- In the United States, pollination by honey bees and other insects produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually!
For me, June is prime time in the vegetable garden. Cooler weather vegetables are either in high gear and producing, or the warm weather veggies were just planted. Either way this gardener is vigilant, observant and forever diagnosing and tending the veg patch daily. It takes a lot of time once your garden moves to beyond a couple of beds.
I am always looking for advice and help for my veg garden, so when I saw this book it drew me in. I have reviewed many veg gardening books, and in each one I found helpful information. So when I look at new or unfamiliar vegetable gardening books to buy or review, I look for interesting growing information, luscious pictures, great resources and yummy recipes. In short a perfect book for anyone who loves to veggie garden or who may just be starting.
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Clarkson Potter (February 2, 2010)
Amazon Price: $14.69
In A Few Words
The premise of this book is how to grow delicious, affordable, organic food pretty much anywhere. It emphasizes small spaces and urban environments to show how anyone can grow food in any type of space. The author calls this small space gardening, microfarming. I practiced a bit of this microfarming when I was younger living in apartments. I think if I I had read this book then, I might have not given up so soon on vegetable gardening all those years ago.
Section 1 is a gardening primer that is chock full of excellent information about where to grow your own food either above or in the ground, starting seeds, companion planting, second sowing, composting, watering, weeding, fertilizing, container planting, good and bad bugs and oh so much more.
Section 2 is all about the plants. You name the herb, vegetable or fruit and the author tells you how to grow it in the ground or container, how to harvest it and many other tips along with recipes.
Section 3 talks specifically about how to harvest and store the food you grow.
What I Liked
Each section of the book has so much crammed into it. For instance the author shows you how you can grow sprouts in recycled containers. Or what herbs and veggies grow best in poor conditions. The author also gives a simple easy way to understand companion planting. I also love the section on fertilizers where the author explains the necessary nutrients and common ingredients to use for fertilizers. I was glad to see the section on insects, especially the pollinators, that also included diseases and ways to deal with them organically.
Not to be missed is how to make your own upside down tomato planter. I made one and it was easy. The tomatoes seem to be doing great. Other great sections are the edible flowers, planting chart which is very user friendly, and the most intriguing chart on how to predict your harvest.
I love how the author makes everything sound so easy. She uses easy to understand directions and encouraging words so even I believe I can understand the great many aspects about vegetable gardening. And she makes gardening affordable by using easily found items and most are recyclable. She encourages that you not buy many garden supplies. Had I read this book sooner I might have saved myself a bit of money.
Not So Much
I don’t know what else she could have added or included in the book. As I read this in a few hours (couldn’t put it down), I kept thinking,”She really has included all you really need to know and some more besides to be successful”.
I really enjoyed the image Gayla gives when she talks about picking the ingredients for dinner from your garden. This book is perfect whether you have a small space or a large space with which to garden. Everything you need to start is here. And those who have already started will continue to find information to add to your toolbox of tricks.
And I liked how Gayla emphasizes what I say to new gardeners……if you are starting a veg garden go slow and start with one or two veggies, learn about them, build your skills a bit and then add veggies in subsequent years. And realize you will have success and failures…both will teach you so much.
If you don’t know Gayla Trail’s website for her online gardening community, YouGrowGirl, you should check it out. She continues to amaze me with her knowledge of all things gardening.
I am linking in with Holley’s Garden Book Review meme so check out other great books being reviewed.
**The pictures used in the post are from prior years in my veg gardens.
Seasonal Celebrations is a time for marking the change of seasons and what is happening in your part of the world during this time. I hope you will join in by creating a post telling us how you celebrate this time of year whether summer or winter or something else. Share your traditions, holidays, gardens and celebrations in pictures, poetry or words starting June 1st.
And it seems so appropriate to collaborate with Beth and her Lessons Learned meme. What lessons have you learned this past season of spring here in the North and fall in the South. Then tell us about your wishes, desires and dreams for this new season.The rules are simple. Just create a post that talks about lessons learned and/or seasonal celebrations. If you are joining in for both memes please leave a comment on both our blog posts. Or if you are choosing to join only one meme, leave a comment on that blog post. Make sure to include a link with your comment.
Beth and I will do a summary post of our respective memes on the solstice (the 21st of June). And we will keep those posts linked on a page on our blog. Your post should be linked in the weekend before the equinox to give us enough time to include your post in our summary. And if you link in a bit late, never fear we will include it on the special blog page (which I still have to create). The badges here can be used in your post. So won’t you join in the celebration!!
Next up on the blog: Don’t forget June 21st will be the Seasonal Celebrations wrap up post so get those posts linked in. Next Monday is another Simply The Best Herbs.
I am linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme. It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.
As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’sFertilizer Friday.
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