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Vegetable Gardening: Your Ultimate Guide

Vegetable Gardening: Your Ultimate Guide
Robert J. Dolezal
Minnetonka, Minn.: Creative Publishing International
Publication Date: 

cloth, 431 p., $34.95

Excellent photographs and other illustrations, many commissioned for this book, and a list of garden related Web sites, are a fine feature of this work, which otherwise falls far short of its immodest claim to be "your ultimate guide" to vegetable gardening. The experienced gardener will find himself distracted from the book's slender merits by frequent errors and dubious advice. When the author runs out of helpful hints, he refers readers to the extension service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, certainly one of the most obscure government agencies, rather than to land-grant university extensions.

A book that recommends treating downy mildew on cucurbits with a solution of chlorine bleach and breaking off the tops of onions and garlic to hasten maturity will not easily persuade gardeners to buy it. The choice of seed catalogs and varieties evinces a scattershot approach with little regard for climate or availability; heirloom and seed saving receive perhaps one sentence. When he comes to tomatoes, the most widely grown vegetable, the usually prolix author advises consulting not seed catalogs, but "your garden retailer." Each plant description is padded with repetitive advice on soil testing and other matters; many are inaccurate, Allium's among others. Not recommended.

— John Swenson, Plant Collector and Master Gardener at the Chicago Botanic Garden.