Monday, March 2, 2009
The Truth About Garden Remedies
The Truth About Garden Remedies: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why by Jeff Gillman is certainly worth keeping on your bookshelf. The book is a terrific guide in regards to "what not to do" in the garden. Examining old wives tales that have been passed on from gardener to gardener over the generations, Jeff tells us what works and what doesn't.
With a rating system of one to five flowers, Jeff examines everything from using beer to trap slugs & snails (four flowers) to hydrogels for water retention (a whopping don't-waste-your-money- one flower). His testing and research on why these make your own garden products don't work is excellent. He does, however, seem to be a little biased against organic controls in general. I find his testing on actual organic products that might work to be almost non-existent. Instead he merely leaves it up to the gardener to figure out. Still, knowing which concoctions might actually hurt my garden more than help and how not to waste my money is definitely worth the purchase price of the book.
Despite all the technical information that needs to be conveyed in such a book, Jeff's writing style is enjoyable and easy to read. Each section contains enough science to give us a basic understanding of what is going on and stops short of droning on and on until our eyes glaze over. Sprinklings of historical trivia (for example did you know that Forsythias were named after William Forsyth who served as King George III's gardener?) keep the book from being dry.
Although I would have liked to seen more research done on which organics might work,The Truth About Garden Remedies: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why is a good start. Jeff sums up my philosophy best in his final take home message with the following:
"Even if you don't remember what I've written about deer repellents, beer, tobacco, or baking soda, remember this take home message: Search for the why behind everything you do for your plants. Do not settle for unexplained recommendations."
The Kat's recommendation 3.5 fishes!