Category Gardening

Epic Tomatoes

Epic Tomatoes
By Craig LeHoullier
Storey Publishing
Retail Price $19.95
Amazon Price: $15.10

Book Description: 

Savor your best tomato harvest ever! Craig LeHoullier, tomato adviser for Seed Savers Exchange, offers everything a tomato enthusiast needs to know about growing more than 200 varieties of tomatoes — from sowing seeds and planting to cultivating and collecting seeds at the end of the season. He also offers a comprehensive guide to the various pests and diseases of tomatoes and explains how best to avoid them. No other book offers such a detailed look at the specifics of growing tomatoes, with beautiful photographs and helpful tomato profiles throughout.


While I am not an expert in the garden by any means, I do love my summer planting and was thrilled with this book!  I plant tomatoes every year with varying degrees of success.  And I’m not alone. Tomatoes are America’s favorite fruit, and the one most likely to be in a home garden. However, disease, pests, soil issues, and watering errors often nip our homegrown harvest in the bud. This book details how to pick the right variety, start from seed, plant, stake, cage, deal with pests and disease, practice “basic keeping-alive skills” and harvest the bounty.  It is full of pictures so you can see how the plants are supposed to look and it is written to the novice, so it is easy to understand and follow instructions.  I highly recommend it!

~Reviewed by Rosie B.

Please Share!

    Garden to Table

    Garden to Table
    By Katherine Hengel
    Scarletta Press
    Retail Price $15.95
    Amazon Price: $11.48

    Book Description: 

    Fill your plate with fresh, self-sustained produce that comes straight from your garden. Step-by-step planting, care and harvesting tips give the beginning gardener a good basic understanding of the growing process. Over 30 delicious recipes made with basil, carrots, green beans, leaf lettuce, potatoes, and tomatoes, complete with step-by-step photos, bring your homegrown foods to the table to share with others. Incorporating unique flavors and easy-to-grow veggies, these simple recipes will have you asking for seconds!



    From containers of lettuce and rosemary to rows of broccoli and tomatoes, there’s nothing quite like growing produce in the backyard.  This book encourages kids to take up a trowel and get digging and to pick from the harvest to create easy, delicious meals.  While the book is for older kids and young teenagers, it is written in a professional way that meets them where they are without talking down to them. There are step-by-step instructions along with great photos to keep them on task. The recipes included in the book are very appealing.  If you are looking to involve your kids in producing and preparing your own food, then this is a great place to start!

    ~Reviewed by Rosie B.


    Please Share!

      Let’s Get Natural with Herbs

      Let’s Get Natural with Herbs
      By Debra Rayburn
      Ozark Mountain Publishing
      Retail Price $25.00
      Amazon Price: $21.23

      Book Description: 

      A BOTANICAL MASTERPIECE THE MOST COMPLETE A TO Z REFERENCE GUIDE TO UTILIZING HERBS FOR HEALTH AND BEAUTY. THE HERBAL BIBLE EVERY REFERENCE LIBRARY SHOULD HAVE ON THEIR SHELF. A much needed comprehensive reference guide to ensure the safe and effective use of herbs and their preparations. Millions of people use vitamins or herbs along with prescription drugs and over the counter (OTC) medications. Find out which herbs and other nutritional supplements can help prescriptions work better or reduce adverse reactions. And which combinations are dangerous and should never be taken together. Great attention to detail for the professional herbalist as well as the novice. For anyone interested in learning about the many uses of healing plants. A welcome addition to the bookshelves of herbalists, plant enthusiasts and botanists.

      * Separates fact from fiction concerning herbal medicine * Information on more than 400 botanicals ranging from well-known herbs such as Chamomile and Ginseng to less familiar herbs such as Kava and Muirapuama.

      * Botanical remedies that enhance the body s ability to heal itself. These safe, non-invasive therapies are proving to be more powerful than the often harmful drugs and surgeries that comprise the modern medicines of today.

      * Appropriate precautions, adverse reactions, and possible prescription drug and over the counter (OTC) interactions with the use of herbs and other nutritional supplements.

      * The only natural health reference book that is both comprehensive and user-friendly.

      Healing Food, Chemicals and other Natural Supplements. Make Your Own Fragrances. Non-Toxic Household Cleaners. Natural Insect Repellents. Pet Care. …and MUCH MORE.


      The book gives you a complete introduction using herbs for health, wellness, and beauty. It is without a doubt the best guide available on learning real methods to cure yourself and learn the kinds of herbs that can heal your body and cure yourself from illnesses and help you maintain your youthfulness.  This book is a sparkling gem, full of treats and surprises and everything important. Though it will definitely be inspiring and helpful to someone just starting out, it will also benefit anyone who’s been working with herbs for a while and might be looking for some fresh inspiration. This delightful book is full of wonderful information, recipes, and pictures to inspire new and old herbal students alike.

      ~Reviewed by Rosie B.


      Please Share!

        The Health Benefits Of Eating Raw Food

        What is a raw food diet?

        You have probably heard about the Raw Food Diet. There are a lot of different variations on the Raw Food Diet depending upon the person advocating it.

        The basic and common feature of most raw food diets is that they all advocate eating food in their natural state – that is, uncooked, unprocessed, organic and unexposed to herbicides and pesticides.

        What does a raw food diet include?Rawfoodpyramid

        All raw food diets include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
        Some include unprocessed nuts and uncooked grains.
        Some raw food diets are a variation on veganism which shuns all animal-based food.
        Other raw food diets include eggs, milk, cheese and raw fish (sushi and sashimi).
        Then there is just the simple action of eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables to retain all their nutrients. One example of this is the juicing lifestyle, where fresh homemade juices are made from both vegetables and fruits are the mainstay of one’s daily intake.

        Reasons To Fill Your Diet With Raw Food

        Weight Loss

        The main purpose of most people who shift to a raw food diet is for weight loss.  It is true – eating raw food will facilitate weight loss because eating raw food will mean that you won’t consume as much fat and calories as with a regular diet.

        Disease Prevention

        Another main purpose of most people who shift to a raw food diet is to fight what is referred to as lifestyle diseases. Lifestyle diseases include hypertension, coronary artery disease and diabetes.  These lifestyle diseases are often caused by eating food that is too high on fat, sugar and cholesterol.

        Chemical Free Eating

        Some who go on a raw food diet do so because they want to avoid the accumulation of harmful chemicals in their bodies from food that is exposed to pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones.

        Fruits and vegetables grown in commercial farms are usually treated with pesticides and herbicides to keep insects from feasting on the fruits and vegetables.

        Livestock, pork and chicken grown commercially are treated with hormones and antibiotics to prevent disease and ensure optimal growth. Seedless fruit are sprayed with hormones as well.

        Anti-Aging And Increasing Immunity

        Still some people who opt for a raw food diet emphasize a healthy lifestyle that will keep them looking young.
        They believe that fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables and grains boost the immune system which keeps infectious diseases at bay and it improves the body’s circulation and systemic functioning which gives them clear skin and radiant hair.

        Is It Easy To Maintain A Diet Of Raw Food?

        As with all diets, you must consult your doctor to see if you may shift to a raw food diet. And if you do shift to a raw food diet, perhaps it is best to do it gradually.

        Start with juicing an assortment of fruits and vegetables to replace colas and desserts.  Replace your regular cooked meals gradually with a wide assortment of salads and grains and nuts.

        The most difficult thing about going on a raw food diet is sourcing raw, unprocessed and chemical-free food.
        If you like going out to eat, you will find it difficult to find restaurants that serve only raw food.

        The next difficult thing is in preparing the food—it is time consuming.  It is easy enough to simply peel a banana or eat an apple for a snack but if you have to subsist on fruits and veggies, you will have to carry fresh fruits and vegetables with you throughout the day.

        Another problem most people encounter with the raw food diet is that food grown organically is more expensive.
        Also there is a real danger of malnutrition as there are nutrients and minerals which you cannot get from uncooked fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You will have to take a vitamin or food supplement for this.

        You will have to eat fruits and vegetables that are unfamiliar to you. The texture of uncooked food may be difficult to get used to at first.

        For those who advocate eating raw fish, eggs, milk and milk products, you might need to conquer your gag reflex first. There is also a real danger of food poisoning from food that is unpasteurized such as milk and milk products, so one needs to take care, though these days it is not as problematic since the there are many quality controls in place.

        Final Thoughts

        Shifting to a raw food diet requires a lifestyle change as well as a change in mindset. It will not work for everyone and some people can follow a raw food diet but not strictly. Ask your physician first.

        There are so many benefits to eating raw food and one thing to keep in mind is that it need not be exclusive of other food, you can simply add more fresh, and raw fruits and vegetables to your diet on a daily basis and cut out processed foods. That alone is a huge step to improving your health, preventing disease and curtailing the effects of aging.

        Please Share!

          Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening

          Rodale's Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner's Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden

          Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening
          By Deborah L. Martin
          Retail Price $19.99
          Amazon Price: $15.17

          Book Description: 

          When the inspiration hits to start an organic garden, many novices could benefit from a guidebook that speaks directly to their enthusiasm, their goals, and, of course, their need for solid information that speaks a newbie’s language—from the most trusted source for organic gardening methods.In Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening, general garden-building skills (from “Do I need to dig?” to “Where do I dig?”) and specific techniques (from “How do I plant a seed?” to “How much should I water?”) are presented in growing-season order—from garden planning and planting to growing and harvesting. Many other need-to-know topics like soil, compost, seeds, pest control, and weeds are explained in simple language to ensure success, even on a small scale, on the first try. More than 100 common garden terms are defined, and Smart Starts sidebars offer doable projects to build confidence and enthusiasm for expanding a garden when a gardener is ready. A flower, vegetable, and herb finder highlights easycare plants with good track records. Plus, there are no-dig garden methods, simple garden layouts, and tips and hints inspired by the most popular page views on

          With a “no question is unwelcome” approach, a troubleshooting section lessens frustrations and encourages experimentation. Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening is everything a beginning gardener (or one who’s new to gardening organically) needs to get growing and keep a garden going strong all season.


          This is a classic guide to growing flowers, fruit, and vegetables the natural, chemical-free way. Whether you want to grow better-tasting fruit and vegetables untainted by chemicals, find natural methods of pest and weed control, or create a garden that is safer for your children, pets, and wildlife, Organic Gardening is your practical, easy-to-follow guide to gardening with, rather than against, nature. This book reflects eco-friendly thinking and techniques that are easy to implement.

          I garden pretty extensively and try to grow as much of my own food as I can, so I am pretty serious about organic gardening. I wish I had this book years ago when I was just starting out, but it is still very useful to me now. It is the first thing I pick up when I want to consider growing a new type of plant, or wish to double check that my approach is sound.

          This is an all around reference.  It has plenty of tips for saving seed and dealing with pests and disease and is really a fantastic overall reference.  I have yet to see anything better.

          ~Reviewed by Jan B.

          Please Share!

            Five-Plant Gardens

            Five-Plant Gardens: 52 Ways to Grow a Perennial Garden with Just Five Plants

            Five-Plant Gardens
            By Nancy J. Ondra
            Retail Price $18.95
            Amazon Price: $14.79

            Book Description: 

            Selecting perennial plants can be overwhelming – there are hundreds of choices, and it’s difficult to know when your plants will bloom, whether they’ll thrive in sunny or shady spots, and which ones will look well together. In Five-Plant Gardens, Nancy Ondra eliminates the guesswork and the stress, offering 52 garden plans that each use only five plants! These plans are simple, inexpensive, and sure to look beautiful all season long. They are grouped according to whether they grow best in sun, partial shade, or full shade, and each one includes an illustrated planting plan, a shopping list with brief plant descriptions, information on what to expect as the planting matures, and tips on customizing the plan for different sites and climates.



            Author Nancy Ondra has written a book that is beautiful, thoughtful and practical. Even the best of gardeners has had their share of poorly orchestrated vignettes and disasters but Ondra inspires us to try yet again. The author’s process is so very simple you will wondering why you never thought about it before!  Each plant is broken down into categories based on available light and varying cultural conditions making is easy to use and understand. The lush photographs clearly illustrate the points he shares about texture, form and color. I have found this to be an invaluable resource in creating my own garden using perennials.  A picture is indeed worth a thousand words and this marvelous book is a great visual aid helping me choose which plants to pick, letting me see how plants work in combination.  This is a must have addition to the library for the novice as well as the seasoned gardener.

            ~Reviewed by Traci W.



            If you would like a chance to win a free copy of this book email us by the end of the month.  Be sure to include the name of the book in the body of the email along with your name and address

            Please Share!