Sunday, April 28, 2013

Book Shelf: Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest

Who wouldn't want to read a gardening book by this gal??  Doesn't she look like a lot of fun??  This lady is Lorene Edwards Forkner and she has written the book that I wish that I had read when I started gardening up here after moving here from Portland.  I feel like she asked me what I wanted to know and then sat down and wrote me up a book.

Lorene is a big deal over in Seattle but I'd somehow never heard of her.  She is the owner of Fremont Gardens Nursery and really knows her stuff.  Her book is written for gardens in western Washington, western Oregon, and southern British Columbia.  She understands the difference between gardening in the Willamette Valley and Puget Sound.  She gets gardening micro-climates, even in your own garden.

Her book, published by Timber Press, is a real treasure.  Now you know that Miss MoneyPenny rarely lays down her cold hard cash for books, preferring to let the library do that, but I had to have my own copy close by my side.  I did get it through Amazon, knocking $5 off the price and getting free shipping since I also bought something else on my list.

She starts off the book by talking about our "unique maritime climate", then moves on to gardening basics and planning.  For me, planning the garden is the hardest part.  I do several change-ups before I'm happy and I use the free software on to lay out my garden plans.  Over and over and over again.

The next part of the book is a month-by-month gardening calendar which is just crammed with information and graphs telling us what to plant when, and when we can expect to harvest it.  There is also a to-do list for each month to help keep us on track.

The last part is an A to Z guide to garden edibles and this includes rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.  Readers of Miss MoneyPenny know that she just added strawberries and raspberries to the mix this year, so is a little unsure about how they are going to work out.  An added bonus to this guide is the recommended varieties of each crop that have been proven winners in our area.

This book is well written and easy to navigate and there is a comprehensive index in the back, which is a deal breaker for me.  Don't you just hate it when you can't find what you are looking for in a book?? and a table of contents is a poor substitute for a well done index.  In my humble opinion.

Ms. Forkner also stresses the importance of keeping a garden journal of some kind to record the successes and failures and ideas for next time.  Keeping track of the weather is also important for judging planting times for future gardens.  Here is a line from this entry:

Tending a garden is a constant education and observation and awareness are some of the gardener's sharpest tools.    

This book is joining my other favorite gardening book which is by Eleanor Perenyi and you can check out my review here.  Both of these ladies are the real deal when it comes to gardening knowledge and writing in such a way that you actually want to read them, since so many gardening books are pretty dry going.

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