``A disease will not attack a variety which has been specially bred to be resistant to that disease,'' Cox et al. advise early ona sentence indicative of the mediocre writing and gratuitous comments that undermine this book. The information on garden planning, soil preparation, planting and care is densely written and does not have a strong enough ``organic'' focus to be substantially different from other vegetable garden tomes. The comprehensive ``encyclopedia of vegetables'' that follows is a fairly helpful alphabetical compendium on everything from artichokes (``while heat doesn't affect the health of the plant, it can ruin the eating quality of the buds'') to watermelons (``Melons in plots mulched with black plastic grow much more vigorously''). But some material is repetitious, and the section is preceded by poorly designed charts on common diseases, container gardening and other topics. Cox is an editor of Rodale's Organic Gardening magazine and coauthor of Flowers for All Seasons (see below). Illustrations not seen by PW. (February)
Most gardeners will appreciate the information and arrangement of this book, which includes general vegetable gardening advice and an encyclopedic treatment of 40 common plants, along with many useful charts and tables. The work appears to owe a substantial debt to The Organic Gardener's Complete Guide to Vegetables and Fruits , edited by Anne Halpin ( LJ 4/15/82). Although some updating and revision occurs, it is doubtful that libraries holding the earlier book would find the additions worth the price; the earlier publication is more comprehensive and a better buy. Recommended if the previous title is not held or not obtainable; but the publishers should have made the book's antecedents clear. David J. Panciera, Westerly P.L., R.I.