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January 23, 2014 / Leslie

Review: The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener

Wildlife Friendly Vegetable GardenerThe Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Garden: How to Grow Food in Harmony with Nature
by Tammi Hartung

Genre: Gardening
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Publish Date: December 31, 2013
Format: Paperback | 144 pages
Rating: 4 of 5

Publisher’s Synopsis:

This one-of-a-kind book shows you how to create a peaceful co-existence between your vegetable garden and the wildlife who consider it part of their habitat. By understanding and working with the surrounding environment instead of continually fighting it you ll reap a larger harvest with much less stress and effort. Tammi Hartung explains how to start with a hardy and healthy garden, create beneficial relationships through smart planting, attract helpful insects and pollinators, intentionally create habitats for wildlife, and much more.

My Thoughts:

The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener was a fun, easy read with many organic gardening tips and suggestions offering a variety of ways to live in harmony with the environment plus plenty of cute, whimsical illustrations. The author uses her years of gardening experience on her small farm, a certified wildlife and botanical sanctuary in Colorado, as a basis for the book.

The author begins by urging the gardener to observe and understand the wildlife that visit the garden, to rethink our relationship with nature. Not every bug is harmful, not every bird is destroying the crops. By observing we learn which are good and how to identify them. Those green caterpillars on your parsley? They won’t eat a lot and in a few weeks will be on their way to becoming the beautiful Swallowtail Butterfly. In my own garden I plant a few extra parsley plants especially for them and when I find a caterpillar, I move it to their plant.

Becoming wildlife-friendly is not something that will happen overnight. Following the approach in this book requires patience and time to watch, wait, and learn. Take ten minutes here and ten minutes there to see what is happening around you. The author recommends keeping a journal, observe your yard, take photos – it’s time well spent in learning about your own garden.

Many of the techniques mentioned in the book are probably already known to seasoned gardeners. I’ve been gardening for many years and yes, some of these have worked well for me, others were new ideas. Plant parsley around my lettuce to deter rabbits? They’ll eat the parsley instead? I’ll have to try it but if the bunnies bring their friends, the wire fence goes back up!

Although I wouldn’t call this a reference book or how-to manual, it does contain a few quick reference charts and garden design suggestions. The book reads like a conversation with the author as she takes you on a journey through her garden. She explains why pollinators – bees, wasps, butterflies, beetles, hummingbirds, bats even the housefly – are so important. She warns us to plant perennials carefully and pick the right variety for our part of the country. Just because the big box store sells it doesn’t mean it’s right for your yard. Sadly I made that mistake – my apple tree has contracted fire blight; I bought the wrong variety for my area.

The wildlife-friendly method of gardening is an approach that I have used for years in my own yard and I recommend it for the patient gardener. There is plenty of inspiration and information here for everyone although new gardeners will likely benefit the most.

Source: eGalley provided by Storey Publishing
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Leave a Comment
  1. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Jan 23 2014 7:09 am

    This sounds so informative and a great resource as well. Nice review.


  2. BermudaOnion / Jan 23 2014 8:05 am

    This sounds terrific! Vance had a book when he was young about people who let the animals eat what they needed – I wish I could remember the name of it now.


  3. irene / Jan 23 2014 10:35 am

    Certainly an appropriate book to read “Under the Apple Tree”


  4. nrlymrtl / Jan 23 2014 10:58 am

    Sounds like an informative book. We read a book on companion planting a few years ago and have been trying that. Since we don’t use any pesticides or herbicides, this seems like a natural next step.


  5. Carol / Jan 23 2014 1:43 pm

    Sounds like a good book. We actually don’t get too many critters in our garden, probably because we have the yard fenced in for the dog.


  6. Suko / Jan 23 2014 6:19 pm

    What a lovely sounding book! It makes a lot of sense to think differently about the creatures in nature and to help them, Leslie. I like that you plant extra parsley for the caterpillars.


  7. WordsAndPeace / Jan 26 2014 9:04 pm

    sounds great!



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