Sugar Snaps and Strawberries is the cutest title I’ve seen for a gardening book in a long time. It bucks a marketing idea which floats regularly around the web: you must always mention your brand everywhere, in your book title, in every conversation, etc. Although a good concept, such repetition can also be boring. I’m glad Adrea Bellamy bucked the trend.
You go girl.
Andrea covers the basics in her first effort, and it is a good read for those just getting into gardening. I think I’ll pass my copy on to my NGBF Aimee because she says she’s going to garden this spring. She’s all fired up about it in fact. She’ll need a good book to help her.
I also dig the rock n roll vibe Andrea creates with her talk of guerilla gardening, but what else would you expect of someone who named her blog, Heavy Petal? Sugar Snaps and Strawberries is heavy with garden eye candy taken by Vancouver photographer, Jackie Connelly. Her pictures show how gorgeous and cool gardening can be and should be idea starters for anyone who is planning their spring garden. The trend toward breaking up the page with a collage of photos reminds me very much of blogging itself. Bloggers are known for showing their passion with words and pictures. Andrea’s first loves are vegetables and fruit, and it makes sense for her first book to focus on these. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and that’s what we need to get people on the gardening path, don’t you think?
Her story of youthful energy and gardening while having a baby intrigued me when I first read her blog. I stayed around for the good writing and clever ideas. When I had three toddlers running around, I still gardened, so I admire her ability to combine motherhood and work. The book has several pictures of her daughter Lila, to whom she’s dedicated the book, along with “future gardeners everywhere.” This is important. As I’ve said before, it’s crucial we get our kids involved in gardening. My children are now teens and tweens, and those days I spent with them in the dirt when they were small are precious to me. When they tell someone how to grow something, or that compost is good for the soil, well . . . it’s a great moment.
I like the idea that gardening (especially food production it seems) is a trend among twenty and thirty somethings. It is no longer just a hobby only for those over 55; although we should all learn from our mentors (I’ll be one soon enough) and then pass this knowledge on to our children and grandchildren.
Andrea begins logically with assessing your site and asserting you can grow edibles anywhere. You definitely can, and her ideas for turning a quiet corner of the yard, front or back, into a vegetable patch are great. I also like the attractive charts throughout, like the one on Common Site Problems.
She is an organic gardener, and she spends all of Chapter 6 discussing soil and showing some at home tests you can perform. I was a bit surprised that a soil test performed by the county extension office wasn’t covered, but maybe she doesn’t do that. Maybe British Columbia doesn’t have county extension offices. I don’t know.
I especially liked the section on insects which emphasized predators like ladybug lions and showed a photo (hurray!) because these larvae are so different from adults and are often squished by unsuspecting gardeners.
In short, Sugar Snaps and Strawberries has plenty of essential information presented in a most attractive manner. Although Andrea lives in Vancouver, and I’m a resident much, much further south, her information is basic enough to apply to most conditions across the U.S.
Her ideas about how you can grow plants almost anywhere, and her excitement about her subject rings true. It’s a great book for beginners and for those of us who need winter eye candy.