Starting Small

Pay attention to what you’re doing, and don’t get in over your head.” – Barbara Pleasant

startergardenMarch is coming, and with that in mind, I am already starting to think about what to plant in my garden this year. Last year I planted my first real vegetable garden, but even with friends and co-workers giving me tips and encouragement along the way, it was a daunting activity in the beginning. There are so many different gardening books/videos/classes out there, and it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Unfortunately the library is as much help as hindrance in that department–browsing the shelves in our home & garden area can be a mind-melting experience.

As a beginner, I needed a book that was simple and fail-safe. As luck would have it, I happed upon Starter Vegetable Gardens: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens by Barbara Pleasant. This is an excellent book for the novice, as it provides easy to follow garden plans with detailed instructions for what to buy, when and where to plant your vegetables, and (of course) how to care for those vegetables lovingly. It’s almost like gardening-by-numbers, which is not a bad way to start learning how to grow your own. As Ms. Pleasant points out in the opening pages of the book, “one worry free way to start your first vegetable garden is by following a “recipe” provided by an experienced gardener, and that’s just what this book provides … these gardens are practically foolproof!”

In addition to detailed garden plans, there are also special sections on everything from starting plants from seed, to the magic of mulch (I love you mulch,

Proof (from the poster)  that some books yield excellent results.

Proof (from the poster) that some books yield excellent results.

it is because of you that I no longer have to mow my lawn!) All of these sections are accompanied by simple and clear illustrations, and in some cases, helpful color photographs.

Of course, the library also offers more detailed lists of resources, on everything from vegetable gardens to composting to local organizations that can help you get started. For those particularly interested in gardening from seed, you will want to save the date for our excellent seed swap and seed saving workshop on Saturday, March 2nd.

So how ’bout you? Do you have any large (or small) gardening plans this year? Do you have any favorite go-to gardening books or resources? Share your thoughts below!

Now lettuce rest, I’m feeling beet,



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6 responses to “Starting Small

  1. Thanks so much for this recommendation- I’ve been thinking about getting into starting a small garden and will definitely have to read this. :)

    Shauna Lynne

  2. Karen

    Deer mow down everything in my yard (except the weeds), so a couple of years ago I switched to container gardening on my deck. Two favorite books are Fresh Food From Small Spaces, by R.J. Ruppenthal and Easy Container Gardens, by Pamela Crawford.

  3. Pingback: Growing an Urban Vegetable Garden – How-To-Ideas | WHOLE LIVING WEB MAGAZINE GARDENING

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  5. Also, another library event to plug. If you’re interested in learning how to preserve the fruits and vegetables that you grow in your new garden, check out the Preserving Food: The Basics of Canning, Drying and Freezing workshop at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh West End on Saturday, March 2nd 2-4 (right after the seed swap event!) Presented by: Susan Marquesen: Penn State Master Gardener & Master Food Preserver

  6. Pingback: Gardening Tips Associated With A Novice Gardening Book « _AbodeToday AbodeToday

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