Saturday, June 17

Growing Perfect Vegetables

This month I was sent a copy of Square Foot Gardening - Growing Perfect Vegetables to review.

I must admit I feel that the title is deceptive as the book isn't really about growing vegetables, its focus is on when to harvest your crops. Neither does the book restrict itself to vegetables as fruit is also included.

The Square Foot Gardening Foundation is 'a nonprofit organization that operates an extensive outreach network to bring Square Foot Gardening and vegetable gardening to countries with hunger issues'. It's base is in the USA and so unsurprisingly the book leans towards an American audience and the vocabulary used reflects this. The book refers to collards, eggplant, zucchini, cilantro and scallions - names which many UK readers may be unfamiliar with. Fortunately the book is well illustrated and so this shouldn't cause a problem.

The book aims to explain how to determine when fruit and vegetables are at their optimum 'ripeness' for harvesting or buying. The term ripe seems rather strange when applied to vegetables but in the first chapter it explains that ripe is 'the stage of growth or maturation in which any fruit or vegetables at its ideal point to be eaten'. 

Chapter one discusses ripening in general exploring how different crops ripen using different mechanisms and why certain fruit and vegetables should not be stored together. Did you know that apples and oranges should not be stored together?
The second chapter focuses on individual fruits and vegetables and covers, how to determine whether a crop is ripe both for home grown and when buying fruit and vegetables. It also has advice on how to store harvests to extend their shelf life. Towards the end of the book is a summary chart
Although the book is produced by Square Foot Gardening the book doesn't limit itself to crops that can be grown in square foot boxes and so the book is still appropriate to those growing using more conventional methods
It also covers more exotic crops - some of which I have never heard of - Jicama?
The main pages contain a chart for optimal planting and harvesting times that usefully base the timing on likelihood of frost rather than calendar months.
This means that the charts are relevant to the UK even though the book is written for an American readership.

In summary I found the book to be interesting and it will change the way I store my fruit and vegetables.  No more mixed fruit bowls!

The publishers are offering a giveaway copy of Growing Perfect Vegetables. If you wish to have your name included in a random draw with a chance to win a copy of the book, please let me know by adding a comment to this post. The closing date for entry to the draw is midnight on Saturday 24 June. The draw will take place on Sunday 25 June and the winner will be announced on this blog. I will allow two weeks for the winner to email me their mailing details which will be passed on to the publishers who will send a copy of the book directly to the winner. In the event that the winner fails to get in touch a second draw will take place.


Unfortunately the draw is open to UK residents only.

18 comments:

  1. What a good idea to put planting and sowing times around the possibility of frosts!
    I've heard of jicama {think it is one of those silent 'j' pronunciations, but never cooked with, or eaten it. Sometimes called Mexican yam, I think.

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    1. It made a change from the idea that we all sow seeds according to the seed packet, Deborah, regardless of where we live.

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  2. I have a copy of this to review too. I've been putting if off because I am not very impressed. It seems to me to be what I call "Something of Nothing".

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    1. I thought the same when I first received a copy, Mark but I revised my views when I had a closer look. I think it would be especially interesting for less experienced gardners. It's definitely a different slant on usual gardening boooks.

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  3. I expected my mixed fruit bowl would be wrong. Some crops don't make it home from the plot because they taste good raw.

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    1. There was also something in the book about how raw and cooked vegetables had different nutritional qualities, Alcea. Some are only released by cooking. I'm guessing that you would like to enter the draw.

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  4. Please do not enter my name in the draw, not a UK resident anyhow. But I wanted to explain jicama. Jicama, pronounced hee-kah-ma accent on the first syllable or hick-ah-mah, is a common vegetable in southern California. It is used raw as part of a crudite plate. It stays white and crisp something like a water chestnut. It takes other flavors well like lime juice and cayenne pepper. It needs LOTS of heat to grow.

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    1. Thanks for this, Jane. I don't thnk jicama can even be bought in the UK.

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  5. I knew about apples and potatoes, but not oranges - although since we don't grow oranges we don't have to worry about long term storage and simply bonk them in the fridge when we buy a bag of them.

    This actually sounds like a great book for those that already know how to grow stuff, but want that extra bit of information/science behind harvesting...i.e. me! It's too bad the draw is only open to UK residents, but I'm putting this one on my amazon wish list.

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    1. It deals with fruit and vegetables bought rather than home grown too, Margaret and how to identify whether fruit is ripe or if not how to ripen it.

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  6. Hi, I'm a fairly new gardener. This year, I'm focusing on growing annuals and perennials from seed. Next year. I would love to try my hand at growing vegetables. Your blog has been very enjoyable and instructive. Please enter me into the draw? Thanks.

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    1. I will NM - I had a look at you blog link. Is this something that you are just starting as I'll be interested in visiting when it is up and running?

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    2. Sorry, I haven't been blogging at all for the past few years, and blogspot wants to be post under my registered blogspot name. Am more of a lurker/commentator rather than active blogger!

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    3. No problem lurk and comment away NM. I just like to visit any blogs that belong to commentors

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  7. Sounds great to me....throw my name in the hat!xxx

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  8. Just read your post today about needing to say please throw me into the hat ~ well, my name, not me, lol! Thanks!

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    1. I was going to add you anyway, Deborah

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