Book Review: Garden Wisdom


appsGarden Wisdom: Lessons Learned from 60 Years of Gardening by Jerry Apps

This book was a referral from a gardening group I follow on GoodReads.com, where one participant raved this was a must-read for Wisconsinites who garden. The book was published by Wisconsin Historical Society Press and released January 2012.

 The Amazon description was very enticing.

Step into the garden with writer and rural historian Jerry Apps. In this treasure trove of tips, recollections, and recipes, Jerry combines his hard-earned advice for garden success with a discussion of how tending a garden leads to a deeper understanding of nature and the land. From planning and planting to fending off critters and weeds, he walks us through the gardening year, imbuing his story with humor and passion and once again reminding us that working even a small piece of land provides many rewards.

Gardening has always been a group endeavor for the Apps family. In Garden Wisdom, readers will learn gardening basics along with Jerry’s grandchildren as they become a new generation of gardeners. They’ll devour Ruth’s recipes for preparing and preserving fresh garden veggies—from refrigerator pickles to rutabaga pudding. And they’ll savor son Steve’s beautiful color photographs, capturing the bounty of the family garden throughout the growing season. 

In my opinion there is a difference between farming and gardening with the primary differentiator being scope. Jerry thinks in really big terms. His idea of a potato or squash patch is measured in numbers of acres not numbers of inches. The planning and planting section of his book was so beyond what I would be capable of doing on my lot that he lost me.

The last section of his book is about specific plants, harvesting them and recipes. Again I was disappointed. His vegetables and fruit advice was very novice and huge in scope. His recipes were for the most part very old school and in a few cases definitely not gourmet or heart healthy.

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About Kary Beck

Mother and wife, gardener, wine enthusiast, avid online bargain hunter, and owner of two black-and-tan cocker spaniels.
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