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Book Review: Is Grocery Gardening the Right Book for You?

April 15, 2010

Grocery Gardening: Planting, Preparing and Preserving Fresh Food $19.95, 285 pages

If you thought the idea of growing your own food was overwhelming, try looking for that one book to help you get started. has 3,943 book titles under the search term “vegetable gardening.”  How is a new gardener expected to choose the right book?

Some books leave you feeling like you need a horticulture degree to play in the dirt.  Not so with Grocery Gardening.  This book, or should I say guide, is a garden newbie’s dream, and an introduction into a life of enjoying food again. Jean Ann Van Krevelen and her co-contributors, Amanda Thomsen, Robin Ripley, and last but certainly not least, my lovely Nest In Style co-host Teresa O’Connor,  created a book that anyone can fit into their lifestyle. This book covers the basics of planning a garden, how to take care of it, how to eat it, then how to preserve it.  The best advice is to start small and grow what you like to eat.

But let’s face it, not everyone has the time or the resources to tend to their own veggie patch, but who doesn’t want to eat fresh food?  If gardening’s not your thing, skip to page 33 and learn the Secrets to Purchasing Quality Produce.  Once you’ve hand-picked the freshest produce at the market, skip to the Edibles section on page 39 to learn more about the nutritional facts of over 25 different fruits and vegetables.  While your there, try your hand at cooking up a recipe or two or three.

5 Things I Like about Grocery Gardening

  1. Visual Organization! I was one of those kids in college who had a cutesy bag full of highlighters and pens to color code my class notes.  What can I say, I’m a highly visual person and I get lost in a sea of blocked text.  Grocery Gardening is delightfully designed with colorful headers, pictures and author caricatures. Although this book is beautiful, don’t leave it on the coffee table; use it, get it dirty and splatter food on it. I’m sure the authors would expect nothing less.
  2. Responsive Authors. I’ve personally interacted with all the authors on Twitter and Facebook.  If you have a question, they’ll answer it. No snobby-bobbies or fake twitter profiles with these four, fine women. They are the real deal.
  3. From Garden to Table to Pantry. Have you ever seen a giant book just on composting or bugs in the garden?  This book has it all; from garden planning, organic disease and pest management, how to purchase quality produce, fruit and veggie facts, food preservation to delicious recipes.  Why buy 5 different books when you can start with just one.
  4. Personality. If you’ve ever listened to the Good Enough Gardening Podcast, you won’t find a boring, NPR kind of show (remember the NPR ladies on SNL?). Jean Ann and Amanda’s podcast is charged full witty comments…and a lot of signing.  The book is scattered with author quotes, that are not only informative, but give you a little insight into their individual personalities.
  5. Community Driven. The authors of Grocery Gardening understand the foundation of Social Media – the community.  This book is one of the few, if not the first, generated from the ground up (no pun intended).  Fellow garden tweeps from around the world poured in their ideas, recipes and photos, creating a book the community would want to read, not just a book the authors wanted to write.

Don’t just take my word for it, march yourself down to the nearest bookstore and see for yourself.

Where to Find the Women of Grocery Gardening

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 15, 2010 1:54 pm

    Jayme, such kind words…I am so glad that you liked the book! Thanks for taking the time to read and review it! 🙂

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