Garden Books Galore

I have a confession to make, I am an addict.  Plants, seeds, and books.  Lots of books, and most recently garden books.  135 in all right now.  How many are sitting in my Amazon cart or waiting to be moved to the cart from my wish list…at least 20 garden books.  The topics range from veg gardening, to perennials, sustainable gardening, composting, native plants, organic gardening, birds, bees, containers and philosophical gardening books.  And those are just the ones I can think of at this moment.

So when Holley@Roses and Other Gardening Joys announced a new meme the 20th of every month, Garden Book Review, I was more than enthusiastic.  I have books that must be read.  Some I flip through as a reference and others that I have in a pile, “To Be Read” (TBR).

It was easy to pick my first book to review.  With my winter gardening obsession being seeds, I chose a recently purchased seed growing book.


Seed Sowing and Saving: Step-by-Step Techniques for Collecting and Growing More Than 100 Vegetables, Flowers, and Herbs (Gardening Skills Illustrated)

or simply–

Seed Sowing and Saving

by Carole B. Turner
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (January 2, 1998)
List Price:  $ 19.95
Amazon Price:  $13.57 (Paperback)


In a Few Words:   You will learn everything you need to know about starting flower and vegetable seeds indoors and out; keeping them going and planting them outdoors.  Once the plants are growing you can then learn how to harvest seeds, dry them and store them.  Here are the main sections of the book:

  1. Sowing Seeds
  2. From Seed to Bloom
  3. Selecting Plants for Seed Saving
  4. Collecting and Storing Seeds
  5. Annual Vegetables
  6. Biennial and Perennial Vegetables
  7. Annual Flowers
  8. Biennial and Perennial Flowers


What I Loved:  This is a how-to book that has over 300 great illustrations.   Mixed in with every topic and section are Master Gardening Tips and Hints for Success set off in boxes so you won’t miss them.  I strongly suggest you read all the hints and tips.  These have some of the best information found in the book.

When I first received this book, I quickly read through the whole book to get a feel for the information it contains, and there is lots crammed into this book.  Then I started at the beginning to make sure I learned everything I needed to know about seed starting:  timing, soil, containers, heat, light, watering, pricking out, hardening off and on and on.  Each of these topics has its own section chock full of useful info and hints.

Once I am ready, I will start looking at each of the flower and vegetable pages that correspond to those I will be growing from seed indoors and then outdoors.  Lastly will be the seed saving section.  There is so much info in this book, I don’t want to miss a single word.  I can already see this book with little post-it notes hanging out of important starred pages.  It will be a well worn and used resource.


Not So Much:  The only thing I can say that is a negative (and it really isn’t a negative) is there is too much information, if that is even possible.  It is not a bad thing just be forewarned.  I did not find it overwhelming, and it is an especially good resource for a beginning gardeners and any gardener with some knowledge of the topic.  If you are a master gardener with good knowledge of growing and saving seed this may not be a book for you.


Final Thoughts:  What really put this book over the top for me were all the appendices in the back as well as the many resources cited both in books and on the web.  There is also a Glossary and an Index which are essential for a great reference or instructional book.  I saw they have other books in the series; Pruning Made Easy and Secrets to Great Soil.  I may have to check out the pruning book.  Another skill I do not possess.


Special Note:  Books reviewed here at Gardens Eye View were purchased by me and were not gifts from publishers.


The Great Herb and Seed Experiment Update

I used the book I reviewed above to get me started on the right foot with regards to growing seeds.  I have to say it really has me thinking differently and paying attention to things like planting depth and watering.  I have little knowledge of sowing seeds, and let’s face it I have been lucky up until now.  I am hoping to master this skill with lots of practice.  So here is how I planted my greens:

1.  I like to reuse containers from salad greens sold in the grocery store.  They have lids which are useful for germination.  When planting lots of greens, I really like the lasagna pan.  I poke holes in the bottoms of the containers for good drainage.  The best part about the containers I use is they are reusable.
2.  I opted for a potting mix that I found last year; Wonder Soil Potting Soil.  The beauty of  this soil is it is lightweight and you add water to hydrate it.  It contains a mix of coconut coir, worm castings, mycorrhizae biosoil, kelp, and biodegradable water-absorbing polymers.  It comes in a bag so you can measure out how much you want to mix with water.  A little goes a long way and that is good because it is expensive.
3.  I used a ruler as directed by the book to smooth the soil, make planting furrows and check the planting depth…check!
4.  I am getting better about planting in rows and not too close together.
5.  I put the containers in tubs so I could easily water from the bottom.  This is best to prevent the dreaded Damping Off Disease.
6.  Next I placed tubs on heat mats.  I had 2 small ones, but bought 2 of the larger 4 ft variety that fit my shelves almost perfectly.
7.  Next I covered the containers with lids, or plastic wrap until they germinated.
8.  Once germinating and sprouting, I took off the covering and put on the grow lights making sure the lights were close to the planting surface.  I did forget to lower the lights at first, and had a few leggy seedlings but I hope they will adjust as they grow.
9.  It is important to check the seedlings daily to make sure you catch any problems quickly.  Also you need to keep track of when the surface is drying out so you can water the seedlings from the bottom. 
10.  One final step is shown in the picture below.  To ward off Damping Off Disease, sprinkle the surface with cinnamon.  So far it has helped.  It also is supposed to help keep those little black bugs that live in the soil at bay.
 So there you have it.  I will keep you posted as to how the seedlings are doing.  I have recently added some herbs to the 7 different greens I am growing.  I did say this was my most recent obsession!
“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed.  Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”  ~ Henry David Thoreau

Next Up on the Blog:  See my latest post at Beautiful Wildlife GardenOde To A Toad.  Monday will be the next color post highlighting the color red.   Then the Word 4 Wednesday, on the 25th, is reflection.  Hope you will drop by to celebrate my 100th post as I reflect on the past year of my life in the garden.  Oh and in case you missed it Wednesday, my friend Marcia Richards interviewed me again at her blog in celebration of her blog’s first anniversary.  Read it to find out what makes me sexy, smart and from the heart.

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