3/16/09 Question of the Week.

Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)March 17, 2009

Do you have a favorite garden book or two that you reference frequently?

Though I have a collection of gardening books there are only 2 books that are my favorites and that I usually reference numerous times throughout the year.

The first is Reader's Digest New Illustrated Guide to Gardening(Copyright 2000)

It has everything in it. Pruning, propagating, perennial, annuals, tropicals, weeds, pests, diseases...you name it.

A second one I reference frequently is The New Fred Wiche Lawn and Garden Almanac The author, Fred Wiche (rip) was from Louisville (30 miles south of here) and the book is set up by month to month things to do in the garden as well as forcing bulbs, and some other misc things. It includes a handy crop timetable that shows the proper planting times for veggies and then the expected harvesting times. It includes a vegetable planting guide for spacing, thinning, and planting depth.

So, do you ever pull out your favorite gardening book, curl up, and read up on things? What is it? I might need one too.


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I have 1 book that I really like and my wife got it at a yard sale for fifty cents.
The Complete Book Of Composting by J.I.Rodale. Copyright 1960.
1000 pages of everything you could ever possibly want to know about composting.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 9:10PM
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outnproud(5 West MI)

The most valuable book I use is the AHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. It is exhaustive in its number of listings, but also the amount of info that they pack into each listing. A lot of the varieties are tropical or sub-tropical, which I can't grow here (don't have a green house or large enough sun room).All of the varieties listed are able to be cultivated somewhere in a home garden setting. A lot of plant encyclopedias cover , or at least try to, every known species on earth, instead of those that can be cultivated. This one weeds out those that aren't known to be cultivatable, while leaving in those that most likely will not be. But it is fun making an imaginary "wish list". It is well worth the price and heft. I have tons of gardening and birding books that have been given to me (my mum works in a book business and gets them free or dirt cheap). Has anyone tried the book exchange on GW?

So, do you ever pull out your favorite gardening book, curl up, and read up on things?
It is kind of large to lay in bed with, but I do it anyway! It has helped me call to mind zone info etc., for plants that I don't own and have know desire to own!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 12:01AM
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bigred(z8 Ark.)

I have a small library of books on gardening and related subjects but the one I refer to the most is"Herbaceous Perennial Plants" by Allan Armitage...even though I don't always agree on his opion about some of my favorite plants.

I bought a couple of very nice books on propagation a couple years ago but have only flipped thur them a time or two. I still doing it the old fashoin way...taking a cutting,cram it in a pot and cross my fingers....LOL


    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 6:53AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

1000 pages of everything you could ever possibly want to know about composting.
Jim, are you a Compost Wacko?
Jim...ever done any leaf thieving? LMAO!

Here is a great read...You Might Be a Compost Wacko...which I'm sure Jim is familiar with.

I often enjoy talking about a wide variety of things with a GF's hubby, but we have an agreement...I won't talk about compost, and he won't talk about guns. He 'built one, blah, blah, blah.

I have(had) some rather pesky neighbors (husband and wife) who wanted to befriend me each evening on their rounds of drinking a few beers at the nearby park, and then stopping by and interrupting me from my puttering around/work outside. I had absolutely nothing in common with them, and they would gossip about other neighbors and even people I did not know. I told GF's hubby that I had thought of about talking compost to them (the problem neighbors) every time they stopped, until they figured they out I was going to talk compost nonstop if they stopped.
Luckily they quit coming around after I did not answer the door when they came for a 'surprise' afternoon visit. Who wants to listen to 1/2 drunk people gossip or maybe even 'debate' religion? I don't for sure.

TMI? If you wanna run someone off, just start talking nonstop about something like compost. I am gonna get the book and if the pesky neighbors show up again, I'll have it handy to just pull out and start reading (cover to cover) to them about compost.

"Herbaceous Perennial Plants" by Allan Armitage.
The Complete Book Of Composting by J.I.Rodale.

Thanks for the info!

Who else has a favorite book?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 9:11AM
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I found a book at the library that was really good, its called the Garden Primer. Cant remember the author. The a big fat book and she goes into deep detail on so many things.

My fave chapter was on decoding latin names of plants. I didnt know that Alba always means white and I forget which words means "common", it was quite interesting.

too cheap to buy it tho.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 9:15AM
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Reader's Digest Magic & Medicine of Plants used to be one I used ALOT when I became interested in growing/using medicinals. It's full of notes & pressed leaves and flowers. Although it contains just the basics, I still pull it out at least once a year.
I love the AHS A-Z also, but don't own a copy (yet).

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 9:45AM
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Yes and yes to both questions. I usually ask before I take bags of leaves. I collect about 500 bags each fall, shread them and mulch my garden and all of my beds in the fall/early winter so in the spring I sit back and watch everything come up through the leaves. I did go out yesterday to weed and it took about 15 minutes to weed 8 beds.
One thing about collecting other peoples leaves, you may find a suprize in one of the bags.
I opened a bag 2 years ago and was spreading the leaves around with my pitchfork. They were wet and had some large lumps in them so what you do is stick the lump of wet leaves and shake it to separate the leaves. Well, there was this one lump that was being diffucult so I stuck it, shook it, hit it on the ground a few times and when all of the leaves had fallen off I realized I had a dead cat on the end of my pitchfork. It ended up in the compost pile.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 9:56AM
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SusanC(9b/10a Sunset 17)

These days, I turn to the net for most things, but the one book I will never do without is the Sunset Western Garden Book, known as the bible of western gardening. Sunset divides the west into microclimate zones that are far more specific and useful than the USDA zones. E.g., I am in USDA Zone 9, as is Houston, but my Sunset Zone 17, which has mild, wet winters and cool, cloudy rainless summers, is a far cry from Houston's USDA Zone 9! The book details over 8,000 plants and indicates which Sunset zones they will do well in and how to care for them in different zones. In my zone, for instance, some plants can be grown in full sun that require shade in most of the other Sunset zones. Sunset recently divided Eastern North America into climate zones, so maybe an Eastern version of the book will come out soon.

Here is a link that might be useful: Find your Sunset climate zone

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 1:18PM
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It seems that last weeks question has become more popular than this weeks. I hope my cat story didn't scare everybody away.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 9:44AM
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Rodale's love all there books. successful organic gardening with perennals n annuals are my fav.
awwww poor cat! that woulda freaked me out!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 10:53AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

I hope my cat story didn't scare everybody away.
Having 3 big dirty outside dogs, I often find dead things.

The other day I was digging star of beth bulbs at the edge of the back yard and not 20 feet from me appeared a dead groundhog. It was stiff, and none of the 3 doggies seemed to claim it for 'their' own trophy...in fact, the youngest seemed to even be afraid of it...as I cautiously poked it to see for sure it was dead, and not just playing possum. It was like it was just dropped from the sky or something. Maybe a hawk dropped it or something.
the other day I poked what I thought was a dead bird in the yard, wondering just what it was. It turned out to be a mole, or a vole or something...ewwwww...Doggies likely dug it up from somewhere.

Chrizty, I like Rodale's books too, but don't reference them all that often. There are often easily found at yard sales and flea markets very reasonably priced.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 11:09AM
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For all of the compost and soil wackos out there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Agricultural library

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 6:06AM
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bigred(z8 Ark.)

We need to start a thread on "where to bury pesky neighbors that bug you when your trying to garden"...LOL

I sit here all winter bored to tears but the moment it gets warm and I try to work out in the yard or greenhouse....here comes everybody and their uncle. I'm gonna start making them weed...that should get rid of them....LOL

My neighbor's cat left me a dead mole right in front of the greenhouse door....poor lil oogly thang.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 6:07AM
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Next time a neighbor comes over tell them you need help moving something in your yard and they got there just in time to help, preferably something heavy, dirty, and it should have some spider webs on it. Give them a pair of gloves "just in case". If that doesn't work I'm sure nobody would be suspicious of a mound in your garden. I've always heard that squash should be planted in hills.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 1:32PM
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bigred(z8 Ark.)


there's a lady at this year market that does the yard "signs/art". I've asked her to do me some cartoony hillbilly feet w/ a tombstone that says"here lies the last fool that walked thur my flowerbed"...or sommething to that effect....something that sound like an old western tomestone..."Here lies Fred...shot thur the head"???

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 7:04AM
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