[Market-farming] Book review

Beth Spaugh lists at rhomestead.com
Wed Jan 31 09:35:58 EST 2007

As we are in planning mode now I thought I'd let folks know about a book I
think is one of the best: The Book of Garden Secrets by Dorothy Hinshaw
Patent & Diane E. Bilderback, ISBN 1-55209-104. It is not a new book -
copyright 1991, 1997. But it is one I read every winter and pull out in
between. The value of this book is in its explanations. The chapters are:
	The secret life of seeds
	Understanding plant structure
	The care and feeding of your garden soil
	Nurturing plants throughout the season
	lettuce and spinach: abundant garden greens
	The versatile cabbage family
	Onions and their allies
	Radishes, beets, Swiss chard, and carrots: Colorful root crops and
	Potatoes: Those Tasty tubers
	Beans and Peas: The generous legumes
	Corn: The oddball crop
	Tomatoes: America's Garden favorite
	Peppers: From sweet bells to Red-hot pods
	Cucumbers, Melons, and Squash: Rambling Cucurbits

As an example, the subtitles in the Radishes etc chapter are:
	nutrtional profiles
	importance of proper soil and good roots
	why storage organs are a luxury for plants
	The best growing conditions for these crops
	What root crops bolt
		Radish varieties
		Secrets of radish success
		Harvesting and storing radishes
		Radish frontiers
	Beets and Swiis Chard
		Beet and swiss chard varieties
		growing and harvest
		beet frontiers
		Carrot varieties
		tips on growing carrots
		harvesting and storing carrots
		carrot frontiers
The onion chapter covers:
	How onions get their flavor
	Bulb Onions
		What makes onions form bulbs
		bulb onion varieties
		How an onions grows
		planting the onion crop
		planting onions for overwintering
		onion roots and the soil
		harvesting bulb onions
		Growing onions for seeds
		Problems with onions
		Onion frontiers
	Other types of onions
		The Egyptian onion
		the potato onion
		the every-ready onion
		elephant garlic
		japanese bunching onions
		garlic chives

I was planning to start radishes in the early hoophouse hoping to be able to
include them in the spring greens CSA starting early April. In the radish
section I gleaned the following: If growing below 60 radishes grow slowly
and become hot. Best to wait to plant until soil and air temps average 45.
Use row covers as soon as I plant. Deeply planted seeds yield larger
radishes. Cherry Belle does best at 12 house day length but it holds well.
Cherry Belle grows a larger radish when grown in longer spring day lengths
than in the shorter days of fall and early winter. Radishes are affected by
scab like potatoes. Keep soil moist the first two weeks to avoid scab.

The authors garden in Montana, so their advice/experience is really helpful
for northern gardeners, though they also give tips for avoiding hot weather
and growing in winter in areas where that is appropriate.

This gives you a little hint of content, but it is harder to describe. They
include a lot of research and a lot of "why" do this or "why" this happens.
It is also a very "easy read".

This is not a book I see mentioned or sold many places. It was recommended
to me by another gardener, and that seems to be how word gets around about
it. I got it on sale at Pinetree Seeds a several years ago. Anyway, I HIGHLY
recommend it for market gardeners. It is not an expensive book.

Beth Spaugh
Rehoboth Homestead
Peru NY

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