The Practical Gardener: A Guide to Breaking New Ground

Roger B. Swain, Author Little Brown and Company $18.95 (268p) ISBN 978-0-316-82472-9
Swain's unabashedly opinionated style and emphasis on his own gardening experience make for a zestful read: ``I am no hunter. It doesn't really matter how many legs are involved--two, four, six, eight. I don't even like to kill slugs, and they have no legs at all.'' A host on PBS's The Victory Garden , he is also science editor of Horticulture magazine, where most of this book first appeared in his column, ``20 Columbus Street.'' Although Swain's subtitle is slightly misleading--this is not, strictly speaking, a how-to on starting a new garden--there is much valuable information here for veteran and neophyte alike. Swain gives clear-cut advice on topics including plotting a solar map of one's property to find the optimum garden location, ordering the correct amount of vegetable seed and constructing a garden bench. Chapters are short, with little continuity and some repetition (spun-bonded row covers, for example, are explained in ``Cloches'' and again in ``Cucumber Cover-up''), but this makes it easy for the reader to skip around and refer to the chapter pertinent to the task at hand--spacing strawberry plants, or pruning an overgrown grapevine. (Apr . )
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Paperback - 978-0-8050-1741-0
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-1-57866-002-5
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-88365-986-1
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