Jim Wilson culled his experiences as an author of 13 books, television host, teacher and lifelong gardener to pen Homegrown Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs: A Bountiful, Healthful Garden for Lean Times (Creative Homeowner, $16.95, paperback). The delicious images from award winning photographer Walter Chandoha feed the desire to grow your own.
“Food gardens, which for several decades took a backseat to ornamental landscapes, have begun to sound like a good idea to many folks with a sunny yard,” Wilson writes in the introduction. Wilson, one of the early hosts of the Victory Garden on PBS, also was on HGTV’s Great Gardeners.
The economy is certainly one reason, but so are concerns about food safety, sustainability and the desire for high quality, good tasting produce.
The book covers the basics: size, site, soil and what to grow and how. Most of us have vegetable gardens in the 500- to 600-square foot range, which provides plenty of produce for a family of four.
“Our goal is to help aspiring gardeners avoid the disappointment, or downright failure, that often comes with the first attempts at cultivating produce. We also hope to convince families who are already growing food crops to grow more, both for themselves and for the needy in their communities,” he said.
Wilson was an early spokesman for and is a continuous supporter of Plant a Row for the Hungry, a program of the Garden Writers Association, which has donated more than 14 million pounds of vegetables, herbs and fruit to feed the hungry since 1995. He is a former president of the group and a Fellow of the GWA Hall of Fame.
“Most of all,” he said, “we want to assure families that when the going gets tough, a big food garden can be like a friend indeed. It won’t attempt to entertain you, but it will enlighten you and — eventually — repay all the time and attention you have invested in it with a bounty of delicious gifts.”
The book is the publisher Creative Homeowners’ green edition, “manufactured in the United States with paper using post consumer recycled fiber and pulp from responsibly managed forests, and printed by plants that comply with strict U.S. environmental laws.”