By: Caleb Warnock
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Publication Date: February 2016
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: April 4, 2016
Spring has finally arrived and with its arrival, many folks start thinking about their gardens. Looking forlornly out the window at an area of neglected soil that has languished since the previous fall, we carry hopes of doing a better job this year. Could it be possible to enjoy a stress-free gardening experience? The author of this new book says “Yes!”
Stress-Free Vegetable Gardening is broken up into several sections. The first five chapters give an overview of the author’s gardening philosophy and the various things he insists you can do with your garden to enjoy it and not stress over it. Warnock’s first chapter, “The Goal: Authentic Health, Flavor & Confidence in Nature & Yourself” is a brief introduction to the success he has had with “…year-round, self-sufficient gardening for all climates,” as well as owning/running an heirloom seed company that works to save some of the rarest of seeds. The author next addresses nine principles of successful stress-free gardening, ‘benign neglect,’ and finally, how to organically deal with garden pests.
Next the book gets into the meat of the book, um, I mean the vegetables! From broccoli to collards, garlic to leeks, there’s a wide selection of vegetables included. The author first gives a brief overview of the vegetable, followed by when to plant; where to plant; how to plant; how to fertilize; how to transplant; when to harvest and how to preserve along with recommended varieties.
Before writing my review, I ‘digested’ this book for several days to think about what I wanted to say. Why? Because there are numerous things that I love about this book, from dealing with garden pests (check out the author’s way of keeping aphids in check) to his natural green leaf fertilizer tea. I learned a fair amount that I hope to put to use this year in my garden. That said, there were a few things that I didn’t enjoy. The chapter on “The Broken Law of Abundance in the Modern Garden” got a bit preachy about food production in today’s society (some valid points but I don’t believe they belong in a book about stress-free vegetable gardening). In addition, the author frequently refers to his website to buy his seeds, as well as his edible weedkiller (which he spent over a page discussing and then says, "...I cannot give this recipe away. The recipe is available for purchase at..." you guessed it - his website). All these suggestions to head over to his website to buy a product made the book, at times, read more like an ad. That said, if you can move beyond those issues, this can be a tremendous reference guide to a successful gardening experience.
Quill says: Skip the ads and the early chapter on "The Broken Law of Abundance" and this is a very useful gardening book for those who wish to ‘go organic’ with minimal stress.