Bookshed: What’s Wrong with my Vegetable Garden?

What’s Wrong with my Vegetable Garden?
David Deardorff & Kathryn Wadsworth

Ever find yourself looking at a greyish leaf or a pattern of insect damage on a plant and asking yourself what’s going wrong? In my backyard I invariably find myself fighting the battle of powdery mildew, though blossom end-rot has also kicked over my zukes from time to time. But sometimes even when I can identify that there *is* a problem, I’m not entirely sure *what* the problem is, or how I might start to deal with it. Here is where a gardening handbook such as this comes in handy.

This richly photographed book is divided into three main sections with the goals of helping you to:

  1. Prepare:  Setting up your garden for success requires diagnosing site and soil issues from the beginning. Photographs of temperature, soil, light and water-related problems show where problems may lie in site selection or deficiencies in soil nutrients necessary for a productive vegetable garden.
  2. Familiarize: Two-page long Plant Portraits help you to get to know your plants – each portrait includes photographs and descriptive text of the healthy plant and what problems may be common for it.
  3. Diagnose: This section, organized by table, gives a photo and brief description of the common pests and diseases for each plant family – along with diagnosing the most likely source of the plant problem.
  4. Solve: The authors propose various organic solutions to each identified problem  – and these solutions are cross-referenced throughout the other sections of the book, making an easy to follow guide from diagnosis to eco-friendly solution.

As this book was just released in December, I haven’t had a chance to use it in my gardening  action yet – but I am hoping that instead of leafing through interminable Internet resources (many of which contradict each other on problems and solution) this summer, I will instead be able to use this as my one-stop reference guide for diagnosing and taking action on plant and pest problems .

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