Book Reviews « Archive

Posted on 11 December 2009 by

Review: The 20 Minute Gardener

the-20-minute-gardnerBy Vanessa Richins

I’ve always enjoyed spending time in the garden.

I listen to my iPod and work the hours away ripping out weeds, watching insects and animals, and just enjoying the beauty around me.

However, often life interferes.

You can find that between work, family, volunteering, church and a host of other activities, time just flies by. One morning you wake up and notice how many weeds have popped up in the garden.

As a potential urban gardener, you might also think that you wouldn’t be able to do as much gardening as you like because of a busy schedule.

A friend lent me his copy of The 20-Minute Vegetable Gardener: Gourmet Gardening for the Rest of Us, by Tom Christopher and Marty Asher. This book proposes to teach you how to have, as the cover proclaims, “the garden of your dreams, without giving up Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 11 November 2009 by

Book Review: Down and Dirty

downdirty_cover_smBy Vanessa Richins

I am absolutely in love with gardening books.

There’s something about flipping through the pages gawking at gorgeous pictures and learning new facts.

I also adore books that teach me new skills.

Down & Dirty: 43 Fun & Funky First-time Projects & Activities to Get You Gardeningby Ellen Zachos should be in your garden library, especially if you’re a novice gardener. The cover proudly declares that the book contains “43 Fun and Funky First-Time Projects & Activities to Get You Gardening”.

Would you like to see flowers blooming in the middle of winter? You’ll learn how to force spring-blooming bulbs at any time of the year. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 15 February 2009 by

Book Review: Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, by Toby Hemenway

bookBy Cindy Naas

Gaia’s Garden, Second Edition: A Guide To Home-Scale Permaculture is a remarkable book.

I count it as one of only a handful of gardening books I’ve ever read that present completely new ideas.

It is one of those books which will forever change the way you think about all gardens, most especially your own.

From The Ground Up

Hemenway examines the way soil is built and then presents an interesting new way to create growing beds. His method also includes new ways to companion plant in order to create long-term sustainable gardens, with combinations of plants maintaining soil fertility.

New Partners

Hemenway details interesting combinations of plants for maximum food production coupled with the increased ability to attract wildlife. One page alone of this book has me throwing out every plan I’d drawn for my new garden and drawing up an entirely new planting scheme. My new garden will couple apples with lettuce, raspberries with carrots and roses with sweet corn and runner beans.

The Urban Food Forest

One of Hemenway’s most intriguing ideas is that Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 29 October 2008 by

My Favorite Gardening Magazines

By Vanessa Richins

As winter starts creeping closer, the thought of not gardening makes me feel a bit sad.

However, there are many ways to keep the passion for gardens going.

One option is to read garden magazines.

The pages are filled with vibrant pictures and gardening dreams. Here are some of my favorite magazines – hopefully you can find at least one to love also!


When I was growing up, I read Sunset magazine a lot. (I suppose I was a strange kid.) Written for the West, Sunset magazine has a great gardening section, as well as fun topics such as travel and cooking. They also produce one of my most beloved books – the Sunset Western Garden book. It is published every month.


Would you like a picture guide to dividing perennials? Looking for plants that love shade? Interested in Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 15 September 2008 by

Gifts for Urban Gardeners

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By Vanessa Richins

Are you searching for the perfect gift for your favorite urban gardener?

Here are some ideas that I think may work well.

Matchstick Garden

Would you like to get your children involved in gardening? Try the Matchstick Garden! Each one holds 10 matchsticks, with seeds embedded in the tips. Simply take one out and plant it, tip down. It won’t be long before you have a whole little garden growing. There are four different kinds available : Mixed Herbs, Wildflowers, Italian Garden and Mixed Greens.

Nyokki Monkey

Do you think the Chia Pet is too old school? Upgrade and buy a Nyokki! Named after the Japanese word for “grow”, these cute little sculptures can be planted again and again with grass seed, which will grow as their hair. There are several designs available, including a frog and a monkey.

Consultation With an Urban Gardener

Do you live in New York or know someone who does? Buy them a Read the rest of this entry »

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