Treasures on the Shelves — Gardening books worth a look

Published 10:00 am Saturday, May 28, 2022

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Now that spring is here and summer is quickly approaching, it’s time to write about the great American pastime. No, I’m not talking about baseball but gardening. I recently read that gardening is the number one hobby is the U.S.

Whether your garden is in your yard, a window box or other containers, whether you plant flowers, vegetables, or both, there are as many varieties of gardens as there are gardeners.

If you are interested in starting a garden and helping it thrive without the use of pesticides, the best place to start is by examining your soil. “Good Soil” by Tina Raman, covers probably the least favorite aspect of gardening outside of weeding: fertilizing. This book is an excellent guide to compost and manure and using them for the best results. “The Humane Gardener” by Nancy Lawson and “Organic Gardening for the 21st Century” by John Fedor can help identify the best plants for your planting zone and the soil composition that will help them thrive. These authors also explore planting combinations that can help control garden pests and enrich your soil for the next garden season. Heirloom seeds are trending now as gardeners look for sustainability and “Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Guide to Planting, Seed Saving and Cultural History” by William Woys Weaver discusses the best ways to incorporate these seeds into your gardening method.

“Start a Community Garden” by LaManda Joy explores how community gardens are not just growing food but also a sense of togetherness and shared mission. This book covers all the basics from finding garden space, recruiting volunteers and deciding what to grow and how to distribute it.

While vegetable and flower gardens are the most popular, other kinds of gardens can be cultivated. Maria Noel Groves’ “Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies” is a resource guide for the different medicinal plants and herbs that can be grown for wellness. What would summer be without a refreshing glass of ice tea? For tea enthusiasts, “Growing Your Own Tea Garden” by Jodi Helmer is a wonderful compendium of the many tisanes that can be grown and brewed for delicious teas all year round.

Even though Virginia is considered a mid-Atlantic state, it is often included in books and manuals such as “Gardening in the South” by Mark Weathington. The variety of climatic and soil conditions help make our region home to a wide variety of plants and flowers that allow for endless creativity and some of the most beautiful gardens and outdoor spaces in the U.S. Whether you are an experienced gardener or have decided this is the year to start your own plot, enjoy the summer weather and engage in America’s favorite pastime.

Holly Howze is the branch manager for the Ripberger Public Library located in Kenbridge. She can be reached at