Homesteading is becoming a popular thing these days and we too are trying our hand at being more self sufficient. We raise a few hens in our backyard for the eggs, we have tapped our maple trees to make our own syrup and every spring we plant a garden. Alas, we are not very good gardeners. Our first year was mildly successful, but since then it has been a few zucchini, a few carrots, maybe a tomato or two. We blamed the soil, weather and even the pesky rabbits, but I now know, WE were to blame. How do I know we are to blame? Because I just read Vertical Vegetable Gardening by Chris McLaughlin!
Every spring my son and I would put seed to soil and hope. Hope is not enough! Knowledge is the key to gardening and in Chris’s book we gained a ton of practical knowledge that I know will lead to success. She covers the topics of soil and composting. She explains the “good” and “bad” insects. And best of all, in my opinion, is chapter 7 A Plant Primer, where she discusses warm and cold season vegetables. How was I to know carrots didn’t like full on sun and hot weather!?!? With just this one chapter I will be better prepared on what to plant and when.
No longer will I run to the store and willy nilly buy packets of seeds only to plant them and have my garden end in disappointment! I now have the knowledge to prepare my soil, make my own compost and yes, plant the RIGHT things at the right time with the right about of sun. But Vertical Vegetable Gardening is more then just a basic how to on gardening, it explores the amazing world of growing up instead of out.
We live on just ¼ acre and our backyard must function in many ways and can not be taken up simply by a garden. Thanks to Chris, it doesn’t have to be. Her book contains wonderful ideas on gardening structures and containers. Who says your whole garden needs to be in just one place?!?! I learned different areas of my yard (depending on sun light and temperature) are better for different crops. And with the handy DIY and repurposing ideas, we are planning to bring gardening to a few different areas of our yard.
There is also information on “espalier.” Which I learned is a pruning technique for fruit trees. When we first moved into our home there was an old, tall, unhealthy apple tree we had to remove. The idea that we could once again grow apples without loosing a large section of yard has me very excited! And not just apples, but other fruit trees as well.
I am very excited to put up a hanging gutter garden. I can’t wait to use the “Caveman Sun Blueprint” technique to decide where to build a cinder block herb area. My six year old son even thumbed through the book and can’t wait to grow potatoes in a garbage bag. Honestly for the first time I feel like we are prepared to put in a garden and not just buy seeds and hope. I highly recommend you grab a copy of Vertical Vegetable Gardening. You will see gardening in a whole new way!
Chris McLaughlin is also the author of there other wonderful titles:
Vertical Vegetable Gardening: A Living Free Guide (Living Free Guides)
By Chris McLaughlin
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: ALPHA (December 31, 2012)