Monday, February 13, 2012

Not What I Was Expecting

I am impatient for spring.  I'm tilling in the garden; I've started the seeds in the big window (I have a one-inch-tall sunflower!).  We now have the most gardening space we've ever had, so I am trying to make the best possible plans.  No more container gardening around here!   These books I didn't actually read, because none of them turned out to be what I had inferred from the titles.

Beyond the Bean Seed: Gardening Activities for Grades K-6, by Nancy Allen Jurenka and Rosanne J. Blass. Although it claims to be from 1996, it looks much older.  Like, mid-70s older.  Also, it's not super-helpful for me, because it is a book of lesson plans.  Not quite what I had in mind.

A Child's Garden: 60 Ideas to Make any Garden Come Alive for Children, by Molly Dannenmaier.  This is a big book full of colorful, glossy photos.  Unfortunately, unless you have two acres, some hundred-year-old trees, and more than my current annual salary to drop on two-story tree houses and rerouting a small river through your yard, none of these ideas are doable.  And because you can't do them, you ought to feel guilty, because a good parent/gardener WOULD do it.

We have a standard yard (grass, a few trees) and a 6 by 20 garden patch; I cannot grow a secluded grove, and I think the lady we're renting from would be upset if we added ponds and bridges.  Out of the 60 ideas, one is actually workable and something I will look in to.  And I found it in the lesson-plan book first.

The writing style in this book seemed absurdly academic.  Who is the audience supposed to be?

Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies, by The Xerces Society.  So I've been doing The Great Sunflower Project thing for a few years, and I was hoping for a book that would give me a list of native flowers to include in my garden.  This is a huge book, and it does have that information.  It also has whole chapters on what you should plant if you have huge amounts of acreage, what you should do for bees and butterflies on golf courses and other huge areas, etc.  The first half of the book was all about how important pollinators are, their various life cycles in minute detail, what happens to flowers with them, what happens to flowers without them... I got what I needed, but it was hard to find in the book.

Mainly I am looking for a book that will tell me if I ought to plant the lettuces and tomatoes in rows or rings or clumps, how high the mounds have to be for the squashes, and if it matters if it goes carrots-lettuce-pumpkins, or backwards.  In the absence of anything else, my current plan is to plant things in order of height.


Ms. Yingling said...

Maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I always plant my tomatoes in rows, and use wooden stakes, and tie them up with strips of old nylons. They seem pretty happy most years, but it's too cold here to even consider doing anything to my garden!

Ted Viveiros said...

Reading is a pretty cool thing but perhaps the answer you are looking for is best found on the internet.