COVID-19 has disrupted a lot of markets and nurseries where we might normally purchase our baby/toddler plants from, but we can still get started on our gardens, as I’ve seen a few stores offer either curbside pickup or shipping to your door. I’m going to keep my “your actions are doubly important now in these times” message to a minimum here because I’m sure y’all know already how where you spend your money now (e.g. Amazon v.s. local gardening store) will contribute to what the landscape’s going to look like coming out of emergency measures as far as which stores are still there and which aren’t (not to mention fostering a sense of community by shopping local and supporting people and businesses which missions you believe in). All this with the huge heaping grain of salt, of course, that this is if you have the luxury to consider alternatives. End plug!
While the original “Victory Garden” refers to “vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks… during World War I and World War II” (Wikipedia), one of the desired effects of these home gardens was to boost morale – something we could probably all use a bit of right now. Not to mention the delicious fruits and vegetables you can grab from your own backyard throughout the summer and perhaps even autumn months after you’ve planted and tended to your garden! So let’s get started with gardening fruits & veggies and greening up our spaces with pet plants (also see Alyssia’s post on home decor)!
Do you relish the idea of growing 24 varieties of chili peppers in your garden? Me too!* Well Niki Jabbour will introduce you to 24 varieties (let’s be real: I know maybe enough varieties to list on one hand before I draw a blank) and walk you through how best to cultivate them in your garden so you can enjoy fiery meals throughout the year (by drying and preserving the fruits of your labour). Check out Groundbreaking Food Gardens** for other food garden designs that’ll have you reaching for your gardening hoe & watering can!
*I’m such a baby when it comes to spicy food, but I love it.
**I’d like to think the pun was intended. Groundbreaking. Get it? It’s a gardening book.
A Victory Garden for Trying Times might be just the thing all of us needs right now. I think the title is enough to explain why I’m including it in this list. Moving on.
Let’s start with succulents. They’re pretty hardy. Hard to kill off even if you forget to water them for a couple weeks on end. They range from adorably pudgy to more conventionally beautiful (just look at that bloom on the cover!), and they reward you with new growth when you do remember (finally) to water them! For sprucing up your home and adding a vibrant little touch to the place, you really can’t go wrong with them. So flip through Success with Succulents to find out how to best care for your cacti & other plants of the succulent family! For more on cacti and succulents, check out The Gardener’s Guide to Cactus by Scott Calhoun and these other titles on Hoopla Digital.
You know what’s absolutely essential to beautiful and healthy plants and veggies? Soil, that’s what! I won’t tell you how many hours I’ve devoted to trying to figure out which brand of soil and which variety is best for my home gardening needs (only to find that many of the brands reviewed are… not available in Canada), but perhaps I should’ve just turned right to Grow Your Soil! first to educate myself on what I was supposed to be looking for. Beyond purchasing gardening or potting soil (depending on what you’re planting in/on) and making sure to properly fertilize your plants throughout the season, there’s lots to learn and think about when just considering the soil itself, and Diane Miessler will take you on a soil adventure in Grow Your Soil! by teaching you how to do exactly that: grow your soil so it becomes a rich and cushy home for your seeds & plants (and their subsequent offspring – fruits and veggies – you’ll be eating). For more on building good soil, check out Worm Composting by Joshua D. Nelson, Composting Basics by Eric Ebeling, and Bokashi Composting by Adam Footer, along with the rest of our titles on composting available on Hoopla Digital.
Or maybe soil isn’t quite so essential, seeing as there’s also the soil-free alternative to gardening: hydroponics. How to Grow Fruits, Vegetables & Houseplants without Soil by Richard Helweg is an introduction to hydroponics that will help get you ready to grow your own plants without soil. Learn how to get started, which plants are best suited to this style of gardening, and start your very own soil-free garden! Although I haven’t dipped my feet into hydroponics, as someone who has had to sweep up soil from their floor after potting and re-potting (and some more re-potting), I have to say that going soil-free definitely sounds tempting… On a side note: check out aquaponics if you love the idea of going soil-free and have been itching to keep fish. And then there are air plants, which… don’t need much of anything really, pushing the limits of gardening: Air Plants by Zenaida Sengo.
Hoopla Digital has quite a varied selection of titles related to gardening no matter what you’re thinking of growing (including some interesting titles***), so check out more of our gardening books on Hoopla Digital here and start your gardens today!
***Follow the law.