From the Publisher
"The book by my bed is one of the most American gardening tomes ever published, Edward C. Smith’s The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible.” ?The New York Times Book Review
"Smith...clearly explains everything novice and experienced gardeners need to know to grow vegetables and herbs using his system of wide, deep, raised beds." ?Library Journal
"An abundance of photographs...visually bolster the techniques described, while frequent subheads, sidebars and information-packed photo captions make the layout user-friendly...[Smith's] book is thorough and infused with practical wisdom and a dry Vermont humor that should endear him to readers." ?Publishers Weekly
"There are 550 color photographs that complement the informative text." ?Booklist
"Smith gives insight into the gardening world through pictures, sidebars and a thick easy-to-use section on nurturing vegetables with names A-Z...with pictures of Smith's garden to illustrate the conversational text." ?Today's Librarian
"[Smith's] advice, hints, illustrations and charts will benefit any gardener." ?ForeWord
New York Times
One of the most American gardening tomes ever published...the principles Smith advocates are completely sound, as is his practical advice.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A committed organic gardener, Smith is a proponent of staggered planting in raised, wide and deep beds that provide conductive root systems and produce abundant harvests. He explains his system, from optimum siting and soil preparation (he prefers broad-forking over rototilling or double-digging) to companion planting and compost ("The path to the garden of your dreams leads right through the middle of a compost pile"). For beginners, he takes the mystery out of such subjects as hardening off ("like a little boot camp for vegetables") and deciphering the shorthand used in seed catalogues. An abundance of photographs (most of Smith's own garden) visually bolster the techniques described, while frequent subheads, sidebars and information-packed photo captions make the layout user-friendly. The book concludes with an alphabetically arranged listing of vegetables and herbs in which Smith offers advice on every aspect of cultivation, as well as a selection of the most flavorful varieties. Smith doesn't necessarily break new ground here, but his book is thorough and infused with practical wisdom and a dry Vermont humor that should endear him to readers. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Smith, caretaker of a 1500-square-foot garden containing almost 100 varieties of vegetables, clearly explains everything novice and experienced gardeners need to know to grow vegetables and herbs using his system of wide, deep, raised beds. He gives detailed instructions on siting, preparing, and planning a vegetable garden, then goes on to cover choosing plant varieties, starting seed, and growing plants. Smith discusses how to create compost and ecologically friendly methods of dealing with plant diseases and pests. Detailed explanations of companion planting, crop rotation, and succession planting add to his book's value. The final third of the book gives specific cultural information (covering all regions of North America), as well as recommended varieties for many vegetables and selected herbs. Recommended for all libraries for its thorough, easy-to-follow instructions and information on companion plants and crop rotation.--Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L. IL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Sally D. Ketchum
Vegetable plants can get too much nitrogen. Garden pests can be confused by strong-scented companion planting. Peppers "love to hold hands," i.e. to be planted close together.
Along with both general and specific instructions for gardening and advice from years of experience, these are the kinds of useful facts planted throughout Smith's book. Gardening in Vermont ("where gardening is only slightly easier than in Siberia!") for thirty years, Smith has refined a high-yield system of gardening. After a consideration of planning, especially Smith's method of wide, raised, deep beds, the reader learns how he can get an early start on his garden using cold frames for small plants since "they can become an all-you-can-eat buffet for bugs and diseases."
Content is divided into three parts, "From Seed to Harvest," "The Healthy Garden" and the largest section, "Vegetables & Herbs, A-Z." The first two sections might be considered a study section while the last one is solid reference for a reader who wishes to research the particular vegetables he plans to grow.
Smith covers specifics that are often overlooked in gardening books, subjects such as tools, use of seed catalogs, water friendly gardens and checks for ripeness. The healthy garden section is largely pro-active, emphasizing nurturing vegetable-friendly soil and composting, but also covering pests--"bugs, slugs, & things that go chomp in the night."
Like other garden books of comparable length, it is practical. It is also a clear coverage of comprehensive garden care. While it might expect a little too much for the beginner with a small backyard garden, for example, pH testing the soil, it will not disappoint readers. Smith will please those who want to learn about the many aspects of gardening and also have clear and accessible reference material. His advice, hints, insights, illustrations and charts will benefit any gardener.
Read an Excerpt
Some Thoughts about Vegetable Gardening
Once in a long time, a truly fresh gardening personality emerges. Over the past 30 years, I've had the privilege of working wit a few of these--Jim Crockett in the 1960s, Dick Raymond and Bob Thomson in the '707s, Louise Riotte in the '80s, Lewis and Nancy Hill in the '90s.
Ed Smith, vegetable gardener, Cabot, Vermont, is the latest of these amazing personalities. He and his family tend a richly fertile garden of over 1,500 square feet filled with raspberries, blueberries, flowers, herbs, and nearly 100 varieties of vegetables, including some Vermont heirlooms. His garden looks like what I envision as the "vegetable garden of Eden."
I never would have learned of, nor met, Ed but for his brother Charly, a Storey staff editor and horticultural expert in his own right. When we were looking for someone who was doing new and exciting things in the vegetable garden, he suggested that we meet his brother Ed.
When we learned that Ed lived in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont (where gardening is only slightly easier than in Siberia!), we were skeptical. That is, until we saw his vegetable gardens. They are beautiful, the result of a high-yield system of gardening that Ed has been refining for over three decades. "If I can do it here in northern Vermont, it can be done just about anywhere," said Ed.
The proof was before our eyes, and as we talked, we realized how logical and easy his approach was. To underscore a point, he took us to the richest compost pile I've ever seen. With mock seriousness he instructed, "The path to a high-yield garden leads straight through the middle of a compost pile." Clearly, Ed's no stick-in-the-mud when it comes to gardening.
Wherever we walked, Ed had gardening wisdom to share. At the corn patch he said, "Corn has the highest sugar content early in the morning. So pick it then, before it's warmed by the sun, and refrigerate it in the husk until dinnertime. You'll get the best-tasting corn with the morning harvest." It's true.
When we saw him dusting his seed potatoes with sulfur, he explained that sulfur is a fungicide, but that wasn't the reason he did it. "Treat seed potatoes with sulfur, and Colorado potato beetles will be much less of a problem." I followed his advice, and my new red potatoes were the best I've ever had.
In the pages that follow, you'll see the results of his gardening system with your own eyes. We've come to refer to this system as the "W-O-R-D," to remind us of the wide rows, organic methods, raised beds, and deeply dug soil that underlie everything that Ed does. You'll discover these, along with the trellises that allow beans to grow to the sky, knowledgeable companion planting, and basic crop rotation, all leading to remarkable harvests--a vegetable gardening paradise.
We spent the past year with Ed in Vermont, photographing his gardens from the first day of soil preparation to the last days of putting the garden to bed. These year-round photos will be very helpful to you in planning and planting your own vegetable garden, as will the numerous charts, tables, and garden plans.
We think that this is the most comprehensive and exciting new system of gardening that has come along in a very long time. Through the dozens of illustrated gardening lessons, and hundreds of tips, insights, and suggestions that Ed shares, you'll quickly become a more skilled gardener. This book will help you do it, and have the best vegetable garden ever. That's why we call it "the bible."
And please, if ever you have a suggestion of question, don't hesitate to call (802-823-5810).
M. John Storey