cloth, 284 p., $19.95
After acknowledging that mellow gardeners grow better-tasting vegetables, The 20 Minute Vegetable Gardener: Gourmet Gardening for the Rest of Us sets out to prove that gardening can be accomplished within their time constraint by adhering to the authors' Pledge of Allegiance: You must make every minute count by growing high-impact crops; gauge a garden's success by the amount of pleasure it gives; grow to suit your climate and soil; plant in blocks or swathes; don't weed (!); and nurture the soil.
In a witty, conversational style, both authors deliver lots of highly opinionated, practical information based on their experience in growing a wide range of veggies. They even add a few recipes. Their "easy-does-it" personal philosophy maintains that if what you grow is not a significant improvement over store-bought produce, don't grow it. Winners, according to the authors, are potatoes, garlic, lettuce, zucchini, asparagus, hot peppers, radishes and tomatoes. Losers are crops of onions, cauliflower, celery, lima beans and spaghetti squash.
While you can't read this book in 20 minutes, it can change your attitude and shorten your time spent in the vegetable garden.
— Adele Kleine