I am over the moon! The first copies of my first book, The Backyard Gardener have arrived and I can’t believe I’m holding my book in my hands!
This all started with an email from my now editor asking what today’s gardeners are looking for and if I be willing to submit a proposal for one of the ideas we discussed.
So, I thought hard about what I’ve always wanted out of a kitchen garden book. Then I talked to my garden friends and asked what they were looking for. In the end, there wasn’t really a book on the market that describes the whole process—holistically. I mean, they all have great info with the vegetables listed from A to Z, but we’ve all flipped backward and forward to see page so-and-so to get the whole picture. And by the time you’re ready to start growing, you have to figure out which vegetables and fruits go in each bed, then mark those pages throughout the book. I wanted to do something different.
This book covers all you need to know in the first three chapters. I start by talking about gardening from the ground up (the basics): soil, light, water, plant care, pests, etc., followed by the various propagation techniques I use (sowing seed and how to take and start cuttings). The third chapter is a departure from many other garden books. I share my favorite organic practices to improve your crops without chemicals. Crop rotation, season extension, different ways to warm the soil, and even my own sheet mulch (lasagna gardening) recipe are covered here. There are also growing tips, like my heating-mat hack or how to make a potato tower sprinkled throughout.
I’ve grown everything in this book and that’s what the second half (more like 70%) of the book focuses on: Growing vegetables and fruits! I’ve compiled everything I know from personal experience with years of reading and advice from friends into each plant listing. I laid these pages out just like I garden-in crop rotation groups. You’ll find all the Brassicas together, followed by the nightshade vegetables, and so on. Then I talk about my Top 10 herbs and flowers that no kitchen garden should be without, and in the final chapter I break down all my garden chores by month and season. Now you’ll know everything I know!
The past year-and-a-half has been crazy. So many hours of writing, gardening and photographing went into this little book and I’m so proud! ? My husband was a real trouper. As my deadline drew closer, the laundry pile never seemed to shrink and I began naming the dust bunnies left undusted. When he left for work in the morning I’d be out in the greenhouse and when he came home I’d be at my desk writing or photographing in the garden. His only consolation was that our little house was overflowing with produce!
I wrote this book from my heart. I hope you read it as if we were having a riveting conversation over a fresh tomato salad and the upcoming growing season.
“All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into he soft arch. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.” ~ Helen Hayes
I’ve had a clipping of that quote tacked to my cork board since I was 16 and it never fails to capture my feelings about growing. Every time I sink my hands into the soil I feel my connection to the world, and that is my wish is for every gardener, new or experienced. Go out, get dirty and grow. It feeds both your tummy and your soul. Happy gardening!