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Anne K Moore
Photographs Anne K Moore

In Christy Wilhelmi’s Gardening for Geeks Introduction, she says, “This book is meant to be a geeky gateway into all things cool about gardening.” If you are ready to jump into gardening as a hobby and want to experience everything you can, this is the book for you. If you have been gardening and learning for years, this is still the book for you. Gardening for Geeks is for the geekiest gardeners among us.

Wilhelmi doesn’t offer up her tidbits in any special order. Consequently, you don’t have to read the book from front to back. Feel free to jump in and float around to the chapters that interest you the most. If you are not interested in keeping bees, then leave that section for another time when you might be ready.

Everybody who gardens will eventually need an arbor, trellis, or cage of some kind. Wilhelmi has advice on what materials to use and a listing of plants with the sizes of trellising they will need.

If the meanings of the letters NPK on fertilizer packages have always been a mystery, check out Chapter 3, All About Soil. Here you will discover not only what plants need to thrive but also how to supply it. You might have heard of the term “Soil Foodweb,” the symbiotic relationship of living beings underground with the roots of plants. There’s an easy to understand explanation for why you should strive for healthy soil.

After you have digested the “Soil Foodweb,” which is a fairly new concept, take a turn through the pages explaining another garden interaction theory, “Biodynamics.” This is where backyard chickens come in! The Biodynamics theory was put forth in the 1920’s by Rudolph Steiner. Wilhelmi says, “So how does a biodynamic farm work? For starters, it strives to integrate crops and livestock together.” More explanations follow in the Small Space/Urban Gardens chapter. In this chapter, you will also learn about bio-intensive gardening practices, growing many vegetables in a small space.

Chapter 10 gives you recipes for your garden bounty as well as freezing, drying, and canning advice. In this chapter, you will learn how to build a solar food dryer and how to “put up” your harvest safely. In one of the “Geeky Tips” in this chapter (which are scattered throughout the book), learn about BPA in canning lids and why you might want to search out glass lids for your jars.

Want to learn how to build an 8-plant tomato crib, a swarm box for bees (and where to get the bees), and raised beds? There is a list of open-pollinated seeds (and what they are), a list of trusted seed companies, and a list of browns vs. greens for your compost pile? Check out the appendixes at the back of the book. Back here you will also be introduced to “Lasagna” or “The Stout System” of building garden beds without using a shovel.

Some of us love to observe everything that is gardening related. Others of us just want to learn what we need to know to grow and sustain a vegetable patch. Gardening For Geeks isn’t for the casual backyard tomato grower. If you find that you really love to get your hands in the dirt and put food you grew yourself on the table, then this book sets you on your gardening path.

Published by Adams Media, a division of F + W Media, Inc. 2013. Christy Wilhelmi is the founder of the website
Gardening for Geeks is available in paperback and in Kindle edition from and from in paperback and Nook editions.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review. The review is my honest opinion. Love the book and the wealth of information it contains.

Posted July 26, 2013

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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