New Books for the Gardener

Thursday, April 19th, 2012 by Jenny Watts
    • Hang up Codling moth traps now to reduce the number of wormy apples in your harvest this year.
    • Attract birds to your yard with bird feeders. Delightful gold finches will be happy to visit your thistle feeders, and rufous-sided tohees will visit seed feeders.
    • Gladiolus bulbs come in every color of the rainbow. Plant them this month for summer flowers.
    • Turn in cover crops now and you will be ready to plant your summer garden in two or three weeks.
    • Plant sunflowers now from seed or plants. Choose either the multi-stemmed kinds for cut flowers or the giants for edible seeds.

New Books for the Gardener

“The Sunset Western Garden Book” has been the “bible” of Western gardeners and nursery folks for over 80 years. With its unique climate zone maps for just the Western states and a special understanding of Western growing conditions, the Sunset Book is THE reference book for most California gardeners.

Newly released is the 9th Edition of “The New Sunset Western Garden Book,” complete with more than 2,000 full-color photographs. This is the first edition that includes a color photograph for every plant in its encyclopedia. And the red type for each plant name really stands out on the page. Over 9,000 plants are described in its pages.

There is an extensive “Plant Finder” section that lists Plants for Slopes, Deer-Resistant Plants, Plants for Shade, and Trees and Shrubs for Containers. It also lists Plants for Waterwise Gardens and Plants for Damp Areas as well as Plants that Attract Bees and Butterflies.

For special effects you can look through sections that list Flowering Trees and Shrubs, Fall Foliage, Plants for Fragrance and even Plants for Moon Gardens!

Flip to the back of the book for down-to-earth gardening information. You’ll learn about soils, how to plant a tree, growing in containers, how to grow herbs and how to design with perennials. There’s a lot of information on choosing and planting trees, “the backbone of the garden.”

There is information on choosing and growing vines, wildflowers, and how to create a wildlife habitat. Watering and fertilizing are covered in detail as well as how to protect your plants from frost, hot sun and midnight marauders.

It has a section on vegetable gardening, which tells you when to plant each kind of vegetable in your climate zone. There is also some information on when to harvest different crops.

If you are primarily interested in fruits and vegetables, Sunset has a new book called the “Western Garden Book of Edibles.” With complete instructions for growing over 190 vegetables, herbs, berries, fruits and nuts it is a very valuable reference book.

In the back of the book are detailed plans and design ideas for kitchen gardens of all sizes. It also has easy-to-follow guidelines for composting and building raised beds, arbors and trellises and garden paths.

The Practical Guide tells you about soil amendments, planting cover crops, starting from seed and using mulches. It also has color photos of many of the most common plant pests and diseases and a few of beneficial insects.

Both books will be fun to sit down with and discover some new plants and gardening tips and they will be nice additions to your gardening library.