The Backyard Gardener: Simple, easy, & beautiful gardening with vegetables, herbs & flowers, by K. Orzel.

My Copy: 9781493026579 (image from

I gotta admit–the photos in this book make me drool over the lovely plant-life.

The Backyard Gardener is a great resource for those who need some info before investing a bunch of money in gardening. (I kinda wish I started reading this before I went all-out in my quarantine gardening spiel, but that’s neither here nor there.) There are plenty of ideas as far as structures to build or how to utilize compost for ground beds, “cold frames” and rain barrels and the like.

It’s not as comprehensive as many other beginner gardening books, especially with how to start, but I think it’s important in one major aspect: harvesting. That’s what kept me reading–harvesting. I haven’t encountered much info regarding plants and when to harvest and how to save the seeds for replanting if necessary (or worth it). Most of the books out there are about getting you to grow things.

I’m largely inept, but I’ve grown things in the past. The trouble is, when and how do you harvest what you’ve gotten? How long can it last?

Now, admittedly, there are some questions I still have regarding harvesting. The author’s garden is in Maine and I’m in southeast Texas, which is very different all around, especially in terms of storage. She mentions root cellars or basements, and because of the water table and sea level down here, nobody has a basement or root cellar down here.

Guess I have some research to do regarding other storage possibilities… and hopefully I won’t have to go too crazy on that.

Of course, if a “closet” works… I can clean out my cleaning supplies from the hutch I moved into the utility room and use that. Hmm…

This is a useful book for answering some basic questions before you start planting (and especially about the vegetable families and how simple or difficult they can be). There’s an emphasis on pest control and soil testing, and thankfully some tips on what to do for each plant (or what to look for regarding the most common pests).

Definitely hanging onto and making notes with this one.

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