I agreed to review The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden by Karen Newcomb to remedy my years of knowledge-less gardening. And on the first page, the very first page, she told me what I was doing wrong all these years! I'll tell you what it is at the end. But, first, let me describe how the book is laid out.
Chapter 1 - Planning Your Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden. This chapter details where to plant, what to plant (including a chart showing how many plants per person), size and arrangement of your garden. It also contains drawings of several garden plans and details on how to grow a container or boxed (raised) garden.
Chapter 2 - The Postage Stamp Soil Mix. Detailed, but not complicated instructions on how to create the right soil for your garden.
Chapter 3 - Getting Your Ground Ready. Preparing and maintaining the soil, crop rotation and a helpful chart on soil nutrient deficiency.
Chapter 4 - When and How to Plant. An informative chapter if you would like to start your plants from seed.
Chapter 5 - Watering Your Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden. Short, but very helpful chapter for the beginner.
Chapter 6 - Heirloom Vegetables and Herbs You'll Love to Grow. This chapter is the heart of the book. Alphabetical list of vegetables containing the following information: season (cool or warm crop), rating for postage stamp gardens (marginal, good, excellent), planting instructions, crop stretching (tips for a bigger and better harvest), recommended varieties, typical problems, harvesting, storage and growing tips.
Chapter 7 - Plants That Like Each Other. Vegetables, herbs and flowers that grow well together and can stimulate growth.
Chapter 8 - Controlling Pests, Diseases and Critters. Great reference (with chart) for when you need it!
The book also contains an appendix on how to compost and seed sources.
So, what have I been doing wrong all these years? The book says, "Keep your garden bed at least 20 feet away from shallow rooted trees.." Oops. I always thought those shallow tree roots in my garden were a nuisance. The problem is there is no good place in my yard away from trees. But, I have a huge deck, a ton of pots and now a great resource to successfully start a container garden.
Overall, this classic reprinted gardening book is a great resource for a beginner and I would think there is useful information for the more advanced gardener.