Vegetables are gorgeous. Their shapes, colors and textures are truly pretty—and they photograph so well. That being said, the act of vegetable gardening is an art form. And it’s an enjoyable one.
When I saw the book Mastering the Art of Vegetable Gardening, I knew before I opened the book with its gorgeous cover that it would contain oodles of photos of pretty, tasting-looking veggies. I was right. What I also found in the book is a plethora of great information on mastering vegetable growing, so you can enjoy your own garden of Eden full of colorful, delicious and nutritious vegetables.
The author, Matt Mattus, does a great job of covering everything from the basics of vegetable gardening to more complex techniques. For instance, if you’ve ever wondered about starting and growing an asparagus bed, which takes a decade to establish, you’ll get good, solid advice in his chapter “Asparagus, Rhubarb, and Artichokes.”
Do you like okra, but live in a cold climate? Mattus tells you how to be successful raising okra anyway. He explains how there are heirloom varieties of okra that do well in colder climates. He also tells you how to grow the veggie in containers, which is another good trick. And you’ll learn how to raise okra from seed.
Wondering how to grow tasty heirloom tomatoes? Or potatoes and peppers? There’s great information on this. For instance, Mattus shares something that I like to tell eager gardeners about growing tomatoes. That is that tomato plants set out in the garden in late spring tend to fare better overall. Many gardeners want to get a head start, but when you plant tomatoes too soon, the plants can become stunted and take longer to grow than those planted a bit later.
I really like how Mattus explains gardening techniques and facts in a simple, straightforward manner that just makes sense. For instance, take his explanation of how Swiss Chard is actually a beet, and how it’s easier to grow than regular beets. This section tells you exactly how to have luck growing this colorful, nutritious green in your vegetable garden.
Another root vegetable Mattus covers is the carrot. In addition to learning how to grow tasty, colorful carrots, you’ll find out little-known facts, such as that the baby carrots you find in the supermarket are actually not babies at all. Rather, they’re young versions of early-maturing Nantes carrots.
Read the book, and you’ll find information on just about any vegetable you might want to grow, along with growing information and good varieties to try out.
Mastering the Art of Vegetable Gardening is a comprehensive, visually engaging book on growing veggies that will be my go-to book on veggie gardening for years to come.
Julie Bawden-Davis is a garden writer and master gardener, who since 1985 has written for publications such as Organic Gardening, The American Gardener, Wildflower, Better Homes and Gardens and The Los Angeles Times. She is the author of 11 books, including Reader’s Digest Flower Gardening, Fairy Gardening, The Strawberry Story Series, and Indoor Gardening the Organic Way, and is the founder of HealthyHouseplants.com. Her backyard is a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.
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