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Gardening in the Sierra Foothills with Carolyn Singer



The Gift of Garden Wisdom
Publications by gardeners grow in value each year

by Carolyn Singer
December 5, 2009

My parents and extended family gave me simple gifts that grew with the passage of time. Gardeners all, the bits of wisdom they shared with me were like the roots of a young tree, vital and essential, eventually an anchor for my own passionate connection with gardening and sharing of knowledge.

Books have added to the richness of learning and have often been a guide to re-examine my gardening habits. But even more, it has been fellow gardeners who have shared their experiences freely, where I have learned so many times that there is no single approach to gardening that guarantees success. And therein lies the mystery and beauty of connecting with the earth.

John Jeavons' 'How to Grow More vegetables'Many good gardeners have taken time to write books. One of my favorites is John Jeavons' "How to Grow More Vegetables…", a classic now in its seventh printing. I especially like the rest of the full title: "…and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine".

I would recommend Jeavons' book of sustainable gardening wisdom to both beginners and to experienced gardeners. This book is available from Peaceful Valley and the Bookseller in Grass Valley.

Eliot Coleman's 'The Winter Harvest Handbook'Another informative garden book available locally is one published just this year, "The Winter Harvest Handbook" by Eliot Coleman. Its subtitle is "Year-Round Vegetable Production Using Deep-Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses". I plan to explore the ideas presented this winter, a season when I have a little more time to read.

For general landscaping, Sunset's Western Garden Book is a wealth of information. It isn't necessary to buy a new edition. While earlier editions may not have the latest cultivars available in nurseries, there is more gardening and landscaping wisdom than most gardeners would use in a lifetime of gardening.

Local Master Gardeners have compiled the "Western Nevada County Gardening Guide" which is a wealth of local information and an invaluable tool for gardening in our area. Copies may be purchased at the U.C. Cooperative Extension office at 255 South Auburn in Grass Valley.

For years, I have been subscribing to two publications of gardening information. Both call to my attention the merits of new plants, seeds, tools, books, and even the results of horticultural research. There are no ads or illustrations, just lots of interesting and valuable garden wisdom.

The first is "HortIdeas", which I receive by email for $15 a year. A paper edition is also available for $25 bulk mail or $27 first class. (HortIdeas, 750 Black Lick Road, Gravel Switch, KY 40328). Greg and Pat Williams have been creating this excellent newsletter for 26 years. An index is always made available at the end of the year.

"The Avant Gardener", "the unique horticultural news service" by Thomas Powell, Publisher & Editor is another wonderful publication ($18 thru December, Horticultural Data Processors, Box 489, New York, NY 10028). In a recent issue, worm power, native bees, and fragrant fall ornamentals were articles that caught my attention.

Then I also learned about the new 'Yukon Gem' potato, said to be even better than the 'Yukon Gold'. How can this be? I'll have to find out next year!

©2009 by Carolyn Singer. All rights reserved.

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