The Backyard Gardener

Most gardeners work within a money budget, though new plant cultivars and time-saving gadgets present temptations to spend beyond the allowance. And then there are books. What is it about garden-flavored books with their glossy photos, charts, and ideas that disable the financial restraints? How does a gardener know the volume in his hands must be added to his book collection? When will the last book be purchased to complete that gardener’s library? Well, not until he browses The Backyard Gardener by Kelly Orzel for certain.

Orzel covers vegetable gardening from the soil up. She explains fertilizer and nutrients and identifies common pests and diseases. The author’s helpful section on garden tools may help new gardeners save money by directing them to the must-haves. Orzel counsels (page 5), “You certainly don’t need an armory of tools to maintain a backyard garden.”

Orzel promotes organic gardening techniques, and the wisdom she shares flows from her personal experiences. From propagation to record keeping to the benefits of worm castings for building soil, The Backyard Gardener covers useful topics that can be referenced often in coming seasons. The author gives close-up descriptions of a cornucopia of vegetables, herbs and flowers which can assist the gardener, experienced or newbie, in growing the healthiest produce. The text is sprinkled with useful tidbits such as (page 146), “When is my garlic ready?”

Be warned the editor of the book opted to omit page numbers on the even pages. Some odd pages are also numberless especially in cases where the page presents a picture rather than text. Although this makes use of the index a little harder it in no way detracts from the author’s excellent content. I recommend this book to anyone with a desire to learn more about growing food in your own backyard.

Or your front yard, if the Homeowners Association allows such radical behavior.