By Charles Claus
Winter is the ideal time for the gardener to curl up with a good book, to gain knowledge and to become inspired for the upcoming gardening season.
The following recently published books all offer the food gardener a great deal of practical help and information. Gardeners ranging in experience from beginners to seasoned pros will find these books a joy and delight to read.
Any one of these four books would make an excellent Christmas gift.
The Fruit Gardener’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruit and Nuts in the Home Garden is Leonard Perry’s revision and update of the late Lewis Hill’s classic, Fruits and Berries for the Home Garden.
The earlier book has been one of my ‘go to’ fruit reference books for years. The update makes a great book even better!
In addition to a very readable, informed text, this revision offers excellent full colour pictures, easy to read charts and numerous sketches.
A new larger book size and larger type is also an appreciated improvement. This is the book to get if you have fruit trees in your yard and you want to become a more knowledgeable, effective grower.
The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabour offers practical help to gardeners wishing to extend their gardening season.
Published by Storey Publications, this book and the previous one have a similar format and feel. The beautiful pictures and easy to read text carry the reader along and thoroughly explain and illustrate how to extend the growing season.
The author lives and gardens in Halifax where they receive their ample share of winter weather.
However, the snow loads and freeze thaw cycles that we receive here in Terrace present the potential year-round gardener with an even more formidable challenge.
Given our local climatic conditions, readers who wish to have a longer veggie gardening season, would do well to begin by simply extending their fall and spring plantings.
The Old Fashioned Fruit Gardener: The Best way to Grow, Preserve, and Bake with Small Fruit by Jo Ann Gardner offers an informative collection of time-tested recipes and processing suggestions.
Jo Ann and her husband homesteaded and lived for 30 years in a remote area of Cape Breton Island. They now live just south of Quebec on a small farm in Vermont.
This book contains a wealth of information from an experienced, helpful and creative cook. The specific chapters on red currants, black currants and gooseberries are worth the price of the book.
Given proper management, each of these berries can thrive in the Terrace area and deserve more attention.
The Book of Kale: The Easy-To-Grow Super Food provides growing suggestions and over eighty diverse kale recipes.
The author Sharon Hanna, who resides in Vancouver has a connection to Terrace, as her late in-laws, were Jim and Bertie Hanna, long-time Terrace residents.
Sharon devotes the first fifty pages of the book to growing kale while the remainder is a creative and enticing tour of kale cuisine.
Most people know that kale is an amazing super food and this welcome book includes many recipes to add to the home menu.
Each one of these four books has something unique to offer the food gardener.
They each provide lots of detailed information and quality inspirational pictures. Yet, they also do something far greater: quality gardening books incrementally increase a gardener’s self confidence and gradually remove the apprehension and mystery around growing delicious local food.
May you enjoy your winter gardening reading!
Charles Claus is the owner of River Mist Farm on Brauns Island. He and wife Ann also own Baker Extraordinaire.