Mar 28, 2011

The Impatient Gardener

by Jerry Baker

This is one of those books I picked up from a swap site when I had a green thumb itch. The Impatient Gardener is full of concise, simple gardening advice, about nearly anything you'd want to grow or keep green- your lawn, shrubs, flower boarder, trees, rose bed, vegetables, even houseplants. There is information on how to establish perennials, recommendations for plant species that are relatively easy to care for and do well in different mini-climates of your yard, timelines on when to do certain work in the yard, info on how to layout your flower bed and veggie garden, what to feed your roses, how to keep your trees happy and much more.

But I had a few doubts about the book. First of all, it's rather dated. Secondly, even though the guy recommends some organic methods like feeding with compost, treating plants with homemade tonics (including things like mouthwash and baking soda!) and companion planting in the veggie garden to deter pests and promote plant health (the chart here seems really invaluable) he also constantly recommends the use of chemical pesticides, some of which I discovered by looking them up (not being familiar with their names) are no longer sold, they are so dangerous (like Diazinon). Another thing that kind of threw me was that in the section where he talks about keeping pests out of your yard and garden- deer, moles, squirrels, etc. He starts off by saying you should never kill an animal but find other ways to get rid of it; yet most of his recommendations move quickly from deterrent measures or trap-and-release to using gas, poison and other methods to kill the critters you want to get off your property. Hm.

So... I think I might keep this book around for some reference, it has lots of easy-to-find and understand guidelines for when to plant things, how to prune etc. and I'm curious to try a few of his homemade plant tonics. I looked for other reviews of this book online but all I could find was a handful of Amazon reviews- all of which raved about the results of following his advice, by the way. I didn't think much of this until the other day I saw a guy in our neighborhood mowing his lawn- when the grass has barely turned green, it's not even over an inch high in my yard! Personally I've never given my lawn much care beyond mowing when it starts looking scraggly, so I was wondering about starting up some regular lawn care. And then I looked at this neighbor's lawn compared to the others around it- his was fuller and greener. And one of the first things this Jerry Baker recommends doing with your lawn is cutting it as low as you can in the spring when it first begins to turn green. So maybe he has something there. I just might try following some of his advice, but I sure am going to steer clear of the chemicals and pesticides. They make me nervous.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 228 pages, 1983


Anonymous said...

Doesn't sound like a book I'll pick up, but I am an impatient gardener right now. Waiting for warm weather so I can start planting things.

Jeane said...

I'm very impatient for spring too! We've got lots and lots of cold rain right now.

Stefanie said...

I am so looking forward to the snow finally disappearing and the ground thawing so I can start gardening probably by the end of the month. woo-hoo! The only thing I do with my grass is mow it and dig up parts of it to make more garden beds. A lawn is so environmentally unfriendly that I look forward to the day when I have nothing but garden.

Jeane said...

Apparently this author's reputation is not the best. I'm even more leery to try his recommendations now.