AE Monthly

Articles - July - 2007 Issue

The Bloomin' Desert: A Book Review

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Along with all types of recommendations about when to plant, where, what type of fertilizers to use, when and how to prune, how to transplant, and how to protect - all of those things you need to have a productive garden - there are suggestions you might not think of on your own. For example, when discussing ground covers, one of Ms. Wright's recommendations is strawberries. Strawberries, for ground cover? Well, why not? They spread quickly, stay low to the ground, and on top of that, provide delicious berries for no extra charge. Makes sense to me.

In another section, Ms. Wright discourses on companion planting. Some plants get along well with each other; others fight like children. Of particular help to the gardener is recognizing that some plants give off odors that will drive away insects that feed on their neighbors. For example, horseradish will drive away potato bugs. I guess anything that feeds on something so bland as a plain potato would not be into spicy foods. On the other hand, knowing which plants do not make good neighbors is equally important. Cucumbers apparently don't much care for potatoes. If you place incompatible plants next to each other, they may not grow well, while you find yourself at a loss to understand why. You will probably assume you didn't water or fertilize enough, and endlessly frustrate yourself trying to solve the problem by dealing with everything but the cause.

There is only one section of this book with which I take issue: "incredible, edible squash." Squash are not edible. This is the one plant where Ms. Wright's advice to use manure is evidently meant to improve the flavor. My advice if you like oblong vegetables is to plant cucumbers instead. They actually taste good, especially if pickled.

"Gardening talks to my soul as nothing else can..." Those who love gardening as does Juniper/Karen will understand her quote, and the sense of peace that working the soil can bring to those who speak its language. This book is for you. You may reach the author at her store, The Wright Book, in Silver City, Nevada. I'm sure she can help you pick up a copy for your own. Her email address wrgtbook@yahoo.com, telephone 775-847-9518.

AE Monthly


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