All New Square Foot Gardening, 3rd ed., by Mel Bartholomew (2018)

Nonfiction
Adult

All New Square Foot Gardening, 3rd edition, by Mel Bartholomew and the Square Foot Gardening Foundation

Gardening is one of those passions that develops in fits and starts – it germinates (sorry!) in a sunny backyard; loses momentum when your apartment balcony faces north; and emerges again when time and space permit. In our corner of British Columbia, the summer sun is long and hot; tomatoes and peppers are much easier to grow than lettuce, which tends to bolt. I’ve had a couple of successful seasons, but I’m ready to move the garden to a better spot. This gardening classic first published in 1981 makes the crucial point that vegetable garden boxes save water while generating more produce. It’s also organic, uses no fertilizer and once planted requires minimal weeding or other work. I’m in!

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Mini Meadows, by Mike Lizotte (2019)

Nonfiction
Adult

Mini Meadows: Grow a Little Patch of Colorful Flowers Anywhere Around Your Yard, by Mike Lizotte

My first review of the year is always a garden book – perfect for spending a snowy day planning your  beautiful creation come spring. This new title, released next month, looks at creating a natural flower garden that puts you in mind of the flower-filled meadows in the countryside. No matter where you live, says Lizotte, you can recreate this effect,  in a large or small space. Once you’ve determined the space, you select the seed and start sowing, planting, or a mix of the two.

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Gardening in the Pacific Northwest, by Paul Bonine and Amy Campion (2017)

Nonfiction
Adult
Gardening in the Pacific Northwest, by Paul Bonine and Amy CampionTime for my annual end-of-the-year garden book! It’s the perfect time to start planning a better garden than ever! And this title is definitely finding a spot on my shelf. Regional expert Paul Bonine takes the lead on this project, offering a nuanced and informed understanding of gardening in the Pacific Northwest. The authors define the PNW area as encompassing Oregon and Washington on both sides of the Cascade Mountains, as well as southwestern British Columbia west of Hope, including the Sunshine Coast, Howe Sound, and Vancouver Island. While interior B.C. is not included, I feel confident in including my area within the huge swath called Eastern Washington and Oregon, east of the Cascades. Read More »

Welcome to the Farm: How-to Wisdom from the Elliott Homestead, by Shaye Elliott (2017)

Nonfiction
Adult
Welcome to the Farm: How-to Wisdom from the Elliott Homestead by Shaye ElliottThis isn’t the first book on homesteading I’ve reviewed, but it’s certainly one of the best. Shaye Elliott began sharing her farmgirl dream in 2010 via a blog, and has created a compilation that is beautifully illustrated with full-colour photos and hand-drawn art. It’s also comprehensive and well organised, complete with a well done table of contents and an absolutely excellent index. Elliott opens with an introduction that explains how she, the granddaughter of an orchardist, managed to convince her non-farmer husband to move across the country and take up farming. She then gets down to business, starting with gardening, focusing primarily on how to build a potager or kitchen garden that will fully meet your family’s needs. Read More »

100 Plants to Feed the Bees, by the Xerces Society (2016)

Nonfiction
Adult
100 Plants to Feed the Bees, by the Xerces SocietyAs I live in an area known for its bountiful harvests, and I am building a vegetable garden, it’s a no-brainer that my flower garden needs to include lots of pollinator attractants. For this reason, my annual garden book selection for your New Year is about attracting bees. This new title from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is aimed at gardeners and farmers in the US and most of Canada, excluding the far north. The subtitle, “Provide a Healthy Habitat to Help Pollinators Thrive,” is a bit misleading, since the focus of the book is a list of bee-friendly plants, rather than considering all aspects of a habitat. Still, the premise is simple – plant lots of flowers and don’t damage or kill the native plants. Read More »

Small-Space Vegetable Gardens, by Andrea Bellamy (2014)

Nonfiction
Adult
Small-Space Vegetable GardensCurled up by the fire, it’s a fine time to dream of summer harvest bounties. Vancouver’s own Andrea Bellamy offers practical step-by-step guide to city gardening in just about any space. Useful for both beginners and green thumbs, she guides the eager city dweller away from yard envy and toward developing your own organic food supply. First, find space: a community garden plot, a trio of hanging baskets, a window planter, a rooftop garden or raised beds in your neighbour’s front yard. She then presents a step-by-step process of preparing the soil, assessing climate, choosing containers and plants, and nurturing them to harvest of both produce and seed. Read More »