Rondales Basic Organic GardeningOrganic gardening has been around for over forty years but although it is becoming increasingly popular many people are still unfamiliar with what it actually involves. Deborah L. Martin’s Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening is an excellent introduction to the subject and provides information on everything you need to know to get started. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced gardener the book is one for the reference shelf.

Beginning with a chapter on the origins of organic gardening, related trends, and importance to health, the author continues with chapters on choosing and preparing the garden site, soil improvement and care, starting seeds and transplanting seedlings, care information for easy to grow plants, fundamentals of watering and feeding, pest and disease control, and suggestions for seed collection, record keeping, and season-stretching techniques. Insets give additional information such as the best plants for attracting beneficial insects, using presprouted seeds, and winterizing perennials. Sections with in the chapters called Talk the Talk define the important terms used in the chapter so that you learn the what is meant by greensand, bolting, and cotyledon.

Each chapter includes special features that enhance the text. In the chapter on planning the garden, for example, planting plans are included for a patio produce garden, herb garden, summer bounty garden, gourmet salad garden, edible ornamental gardens, shade garden, cottage garden, multi-seasonal perennial garden, and three year rotational vegetable garden. The chapter on care of individual plants includes lists for vegetable that grow quickly to harvest, perennials for long lasting color, and easy to grow bulbs. The final chapter ends with a month-by-month plant care calendar.

The book is very readable and contains all sorts of information that tickle the mind, making for very good reading. The text is enhanced with simple illustrations all done in black, white and green. A resource guide concludes the work.

By Karen