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1,001 Old-Time Garden Tips

1,001 Old-Time Garden Tips
Roger Yepsen (editor)
Publication Date: 

paper, 342 p., $16.95

Gardeners are always asking questions about plants, plans, pests and problems — and have done so for centuries. In gardening many of the old-time answers are as relevant as those found in newspapers and journals today. In fact, many are the same. Some are very amusing because of our knowledge of the science of plant growth and chemistry and advances in technology. In this book, the author has made a careful survey of library sources to document some of these tried and true solutions. The book's division into relevant sections (planning, care, kinds of plants, pests, disease control and tools) makes it easy to use as a quick reference.

Many practices in gardening come and go — and come again. An 1850 Encyclopedia of Gardening suggests combining ornamental plants with useful ones by bordering a garden with parsley. Using lettuce as a border for flowering plants is often done now.

Some of the suggestions have practical rather than historic value, and many would be interesting to try. For example, buckwheat greens are suggested for a green in place of using beet greens or spinach. Water heated to different temperatures is suggested as a means to kill pests (such as cabbage worms and spider mites) without damaging a specific plant. Rhubarb can be cut into sections, hung up to dry, then mixed with stewed apples or in a winter pie. A substitute for capers can be made from nasturtium seeds soaked in vinegar and boiled. For an amusing trick, slip a small cucumber into a fairly large bottle, and after it has grown to fill the bottle’s space you won’t be bothered by striped beetles. Sow radish seeds in a cucumber and squash bed and you also won’t be troubled by striped beetles (the radish possesses a natural repellent to these beetles).

I started reading this book for amusement, but because of its valuable suggestions I've decided it is a "must-have."

— Luretta Spiess, volunteer and master gardener, Chicago Botanic Garden