The Gourmet Garden

This year, the number of people in the United States who are planning to grow at least some of their own food is projected to increase by nineteen percent, according to the National Gardening Association. Even First Lady Michelle Obama has planted a White House kitchen garden. The Gourmet Garden would be the perfect gift for any one of those new gardeners joining the many enthusiasts who already grow their own fruits and vegetables. In fact, there is new material here for everyone who wants to eat fresh, organically grown food.

The book covers the most important information for the food gardener, from soil, compost, and seeding, to design, crop rotation, and basic pest control. In the large directory section of the book, herbs, edible flowers, vegetables, fruit, and even mushrooms appear in a well-defined format that touches on growing tips, available varieties, and cooking information. The vegetable directory is divided into categories of heirloom vegetables, leafy greens, and baby vegetables. The section on fruit, which includes instructions for planting and pruning, is divided into tree fruits, citrus fruits, berries, and climbing fruits. The last section on regional flavors gives us nine tasty recipes in which to savor our homegrown produce.

There are so many good ideas presented in this bright, colorful book; every drawing and photograph is a visual delight. The lists are extensive, and the basic techniques will inform the novice, while tips for growing some of the more obscure vegetables will appeal to the experienced gardener. As a Master Gardener, I was surprised to learn that the flowers of begonias and fuchsias are edible, and that I could grow mushrooms in an old paperback book!

Susan Bouchez, Master Gardener
Los Altos, California