Gardening for Geeks by Christy Wilhelmi

GardeningforGeeksFWMediaGardening for Geeks by Christy Wilhelmi (Adams Media, 2013)

Non-geeks, take heart: writer, blogger, and teacher Christy Wilhelmi’s book, Gardening for Geeks, might actually be for you. Behind the graph and formula decorating the front cover, Wilhelmi offers a comprehensive and accessible guide to starting and succeeding at vegetable gardens (flowers are not the focus here).

The author starts with an overview of garden ecosystems and their many requirements, then heads into details on raised beds, which she strongly recommends. A wonderful section on “Planting Nitty-Gritty” runs through dozens of vegetables alphabetically, with a list of statistics such as plant spacing, sun, and days to maturity, followed by paragraphs on growing, harvesting, and common problems.

Topics range far and wide: the final chapter goes into detail on storing, blanching, drying, and canning, and even includes a few recipes. The appendices provide specifics on composting, building tomato cribs, and seed-ordering companies.

Some of the “Geeky Gardening Tips” are not really all that geeky, such as using your index finger to make a hole and check if the soil is wet enough. But real geeks can also find much to like here: a pullout box goes over “Calculation of Precipitation Rate of Drip Emitters” while a flow chart helps identify pests based on physical evidence.

While the book is certainly heavier on text than images, it makes a worthy addition to any gardening library as a go-to source for the fundamentals of everything from plant placement to making a planting mix to making a solar food dryer.

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