Friday, August 3, 2012

Are You a Solo Gardener?

In 2009 First Lady Michelle Obama experienced the one worry many novice gardeners face, as she set out to plant the White House Kitchen Garden: Will my plants grow?

Luckily, Obama had a bit of help. The National Park Service staff, schoolchildren, White House staffers, chefs and even Army officers began to share in the care of the garden, which is featured in the First Lady's new book American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America (Crown, $30).

Don't have scores of volunteers at the ready? Not to worry. The expert DIY tips you will find in Texas A&M Press gardening books will set you off in the right direction.

Doug Welsh's Texas Garden Almanac, by Doug Welsh
Overwhelmed by the seemingly long list of to-dos when it comes to your garden? Doug Welsh, a gardening call-in radio show host and associate department head in horticulture for Texas AgriLife Extension Service, breaks down a wealth of information pertinent to Texas gardening into a giant monthly calendar for the entire state. Here you'll find Welsh's expertise on everything from flowers and garden design to soil, mulch, water, pests and plant care.

Recipes From and For the Garden: How to Use and Enjoy Your Bountiful Harvest, by Judy Barrett
This slim book -- handy for using while you're out in the garden or in the kitchen -- is chock full of recipes curated by veteran Central Texas gardener Judy Barrett. If friendly and accessible is your style, Barrett's books are for you. In Recipes From and For the Garden, Barrett addresses "Why a Mixed-Up Garden is the Very Best Kind," and shares recipes for "things to eat" (from Garlicky Green Beans to Fresh Spring Corn Salad), things to "make your garden bountiful" (from Basic Insecticidal Soap to a chard cocktail she calls "happy hour for plants that need a lift”) and more.

Heirloom Gardening in the South: Yesterday's Plants for Today's Gardens, by William C. Welch and Greg Grant
When it comes to finding outstanding gardening advice, you can't get much better than Bill Welch and Greg Grant. Welch, a regular contributor to Southern Living magazine, and Grant, a regular contributor to Neil Sperry's Gardens and Texas Gardener, penned the classic book on Southern heirloom gardening years ago. In this revised edition filled with inspiring photograps, Welch and Grant have added sections on naturalizing daffodils, garden design and growing fruit, as well as an updated and expanded heirloom plant encyclopedia.

Texas Tomato Lover's Handbook, by William D. Adams
Are tomatoes more your speed? In Texas Tomato Lover's Handbook, retired Harris County extension agent Bill Adams shares his best tips and secrets to growing the perfect tomato. His book is a step-by-step guide to success in the tomato patch. By paying close attention to factors such as soil preparation, planting, feeding, caging and watering, says Adams, gardeners can grow great-looking and -tasting tomatoes.

To see more gardening titles, visit our new and improved Gardening flyer!

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