This book landed on my desk at the perfect time. We have a short growing season here in the Pacific Northwest and I have just begun to get serious about this year's garden.
Gardening For Geeks; DIY Tests, Gadgets and Techniques that utilize microbiology, mathematics, and ecology to exponentially maximize the yield of your garden by Christy Wilhelmina of gardenerd.com is a well thought out book that covers a lot of territory. Unlike some gardening books that begin by talking about shade vs sun and what colors and textures work well together, Gardening For Geeks starts with your garden's ecosystem. The first chapter is all about creating a friendly space for the beneficial critters a garden loves. This includes a section about building a bee box and how to deal with the wildlife that your garden may not be so happy about.
The next section of the book deals with beds, both raised and in ground, how to design, make, and maintain. Of course there is a section about dirt, or as my gardening friends say, soil. This is followed by information about small space/urban gardening, and how to chose plants and seeds.
I really like this part! If I am growing something new I am not always sure when to harvest, yes the seed packet says 45 days, but plants look very different after 45 days depending on if they are growing in San Diego or Seattle. Knowing to wait until the leaves are three inches, for example, is so helpful. The paragraph about common problems is also important. It tells you if a wet climate will be a problem and how to deal with it. It also gives away the hiding spots for those pesky insects.
At this point we are only at the halfway point of the book. Wow. Up next is a chapter about irrigation that includes information about rain barrels and drip irrigation systems. Cages and trellis are covered next, followed by a chapter on pest control. Oh those pests!
Lastly, it is time to eat the fruits of your labor. Christy walks you through blanching and freezing, dehydrating and canning.
I am going through a cooked radish thing right now and this recipe is a goody. Radishes grow quickly and it is easy to have more than you can eat on any given night. If you take a three day weekend you may return to find radishes that are a little too big to add to a salad. Cut them in half and apply heat, you will be amazed.
Sesame Roasted Radishes
Serves 2–3 as a side dish
Now we move on to specific dishes that highlight your harvest in a way you might not expect. Radishes have a very distinct flavor when raw, and to some gardeners, that flavor only goes so far. Once you roast them though, they transform into something completely different. If you were ever on the fence about growing radishes, this recipe will nudge you over. It’s a riff on one part of a recipe from Jamie Oliver.
1pound radishes, greens removed
1 tablespoon walnut or peanut oil
1 green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Toasted sesame oil
Eden Shake (order from www. edenfoods.com), furikake, gomashio, or sesame seeds
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Trim radishes and cut them into quarters. Place them in a casserole dish and toss with walnut oil. Roast until radishes are tender and starting to brown, about 25 minutes.
3. Remove from oven and add green onion and soy sauce. Stir to coat, then return to oven for 5 more minutes. Test for doneness: radishes should easily pierce with a fork.
4. Remove from oven and drizzle lightly with toasted sesame oil. Sprinkle Eden Shake over the top and serve warm.
***I was sent this book by the publisher with the hope that I would write a review for the blog. No money changed hands and my opinions are my own.