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Grocery Gardening
Planting, Preparing and Preserving Fresh Food

by Jean Ann Van Krevelen, with Amanda Thomsen, Robin Ripley and Teresa OíConnor


When I first got this book to review, I started to thumb through it casually, simply reveling in the photographs and recipes. Yet, suddenly, that wasnít enough for me! I went and made a cup of tea, and curled up in my recliner for the afternoon. What a delightful book! Whether you have an apartment with a small balcony or a home on acreage, this book will whet your appetite for growing edible plants in your space. As the subtitle of the book states, this book will help you plant, prepare and preserve your bounty. The steps in the book are suitable for experienced gardeners or the novices, and should fill your heart with desire to be a grocery gardener!

Primary author Jean Ann Krevelen is all about communication. She is a blogger with a dynamic presence on Twitter, Facebook and more. Because of that presence, her book already had a viable and vital audience. And rightfully so. Right from the Table of Contents, which includes Gardening 101, Organic Disease and Pest Management, Purchasing Quality Produce, Edibles (divided into Herbs, Fruit and Vegetables) and a great section on Preserving your Harvest, this book covers it all beautifully. Jean Annís humor laces the book as well, making it a fun read, as well as an inspirational one. By page 22, I had several great ideas about how to use my small mobile home lot to its best potential, and was talking to the neighbors about yard sharing.† Jean Ann states succinctly, "The only judge of what is right for your garden is you."

Ms. Krevelenís co-authors pipe up too, with doses of down-in-the-garden wisdom. For instance, Amanda Thomsen shares with the reader her advice on basil, whether it is purchased or grown. The recipe for Basil Sorbet sounds absolutely divine, and there are three other Basil recipes in that section. Robin Ripley contributes too, and her ideas about growing white asparagus at home, as well as an Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart, are really well presented. The photography is superb and almost edible in itself.

The way the book is laid out, with each herb, vegetable or fruit listed on its own, with correlating recipes, ideas and planting tips, makes the book a breeze to utilize. Just donít be stuck on your own tried-and-true favorites; branch out with something new in your garden this year, and learn, in this book, how to preserve it for the winter months when fresh produce is at a premium.

Each step of the way, with each kind of produce, the authors are there to show you, in words and photos, how to make the most of every crop, for a tasty, organic and homegrown flavor that canít be beat. Follow up by joining them on Facebook, or read their blogs, where they share their knowledge freely and willingly with all their readers. I strongly encourage you to rush out and get a copy of the book for your very own. As for me, I am off to make Rosemary Bread, shown on pages 80 and 81!


The Book

February 1, 2010
Cool Springs Press
How To / Gardening
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The Reviewer

Laura Strathman Hulka
Reviewed 2010
© 2010