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Vermont Garden Journal: Gardening Books

If your garden is currently covered with snow, consider reading up on the latest gardening techniques.

Happy New Year. One of my favorite January activities is to read a few gardening books for inspiration and education. Here are this winter's selections.

I mentioned Straw Bale Gardening by Joel Karsten last winter. This is a step by step, how-to guide on growing vegetables, flowers, and herbs in straw bales. I gave it a try last summer and guess what, it worked. I had a bumper crop of cucumbers, without beetles or diseases, growing on my two bales of straw. I just had to be good about regular watering. If you're looking for a way to garden in a small space or without as many pests, pick up this book and give it a try.

I've been as guilty as any gardener about recommending home remedies to cure plant ills and increase production. Some work, some don't, and some may even be harmful. The book, The Truth About Organic Gardening and The Truth about Home Remedies by former University horticultural professor Jeff Gilman, set the record straight. For example, anti-desiccant sprays to protect evergreens in winter don't really work well because the coating cracks and needs to be reapplied a number of times to be effective. Also, vinegar does kill weeds, but it also can kill frogs, too, if accidentally sprayed on them.

Another book I'm reading this winter is about weeds. You might know I love eating wild greens such as lamb's quarters, dandelion, pigweed, and knotweed. The book, Wild Weed Wisdom, by Katrina Blair and Chelsea Green Press is filled with the description, use, history and edibility of 13 common weeds found around the globe. It even includes some cool recipes.

And now for this week's tip, don't just toss that live holiday tree in the woods once the celebrations are over. Prop it up in the garden as a winter weigh station for birds, chip it up for mulch, or cut off the boughs to place them around tender perennials to catch snow for insulation.

Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about some new flower varieties for this year. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.

Broadcast on Friday, January 2, 2015 at 5:57 p.m. and Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 9:35 a.m.

The Vermont Garden Journal with Charlie Nardozzi is made possible by Gardener's Supply, offering environmental solutions for gardens and landscapes. In Burlington, Williston and Gardeners.com

Wild Weed Wisdom
Straw Bale Gardening
The Truth About Organic Gardening and The Truth about Home Remedies

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