Monday, July 21, 2014

The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting by Josie Jeffery

book cover
The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting
by Josie Jeffery

ISBN-13: 9781607746331
Hardback spiral bound:
104 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Released: March 11th 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
With its unique split-page mix-and match system, The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting is a colorful visual gardening guide to which vegetables, fruits, and herbs grow best with one another, and which do not. All you have to do is choose from the plant directory to find the perfect plant pals. Each central crop has a row of colored dots along the top and bottom of the strip showing its "requirements"--that is, what it's looking for in a companion plant, whether it be a support while growing and a pest deterrent or a soil conditioner and a nutrient accumulator. Turn the strips and match the dots to find your plants' best friends. The more dots that match, the better the chance your plants will flourish.

My Review:
The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting will help you match up plants that will help each other out, but it gave only a minimal, generalized explanation about how companion planting actually works.

The last half of the book has each page divided into 3 strips. The top strips are plants that will deal with above-ground problems, like it attracts beneficial insects, deters pests, prevents disease, acts as a physical support for climbing plants, acts as a sacrificial trap crop, or provides shade for other crops. The middle strip contains the garden crops that you are trying to find above ground and below ground companions for. The bottom strip contains plants that help with below ground problems like it supplies nutrients, deters soil pests, suppresses weeds, improves the soil, or improves flavor or yield.

Each card has a code along the top and/or bottom of the card to indicate what that plant does (for the companion crop) or what that plant needs help with (for the main crop) listed. You find the main crop that you wish to grow, then flip through the top and bottom cards to match as many of these codes as you can to find a good companion. Unfortunately, the page explaining the code meanings was near the front of the book instead of with the mix-and-match pages, but knowing the codes isn't actually necessary to use the chart.

Each plant's card/strip gave some growing information. There were specific "good to grow with" or "avoid growing with" plants listed on some individual plant cards. Many of these mix-and-match groupings were new to me, so I can't currently comment on how effective this matching system is. However, this mix-and-match system is very easy to use.

The crops covered by this book: Central Crop - apple, apricot, asparagus, beet, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cherry, cucumber, eggplant, grape, lettuce, parsnip, peach, pear, pepper, plum, potatoes, raspberries & other cane fruit, strawberries, tomato, turnip, zucchini & summer squash.

Above Ground Companion - basil, chervil, chives, cilantro & coriander, dill, fennel, garlic, hyssop, lavender, leek, mint, nasturtium, onion, oregano, parsley, pyrethrum, rosemary, rue, sage, savory, southernwood, sunflowers, sweet corn, thyme, wormwood.

Below Ground Companion - alfalfa, beans (bush and pole), fava beans, borage, caraway, chamomile, clover, fenugreek, foxglove, horehound, larkspur, lupine, marigold, marjoram, mustard, pea, petunia, phacelia, radish, rye, spinach, tansy, tarragon, bird's foot trefoil, yarrow.

The first 46 pages of the book covered other information about gardening. Much of it was extremely basic information about gardening that I'd expect anyone interested in companion gardening to already know. Yet the information was so brief that you'll need to look up further information if you want to successfully do that activity.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Victorian City by Judith Flanders

This is another review done as a member of Amazon Vine, so I'm posting a description of the book with a direct link to my review on Amazon.

book cover
The Victorian City:
Everyday Life in Dickens' London
by Judith Flanders

ISBN-13: 9781250040213
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Released: July 15, 2014

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
An extraordinary, revelatory portrait of everyday life on the streets of Dickens' London. The nineteenth century was a time of unprecedented change, and nowhere was this more apparent than London. In only a few decades, the capital grew from a compact Regency town into a sprawling metropolis of 6.5 million inhabitants, the largest city the world had ever seen. Technology—railways, street-lighting, and sewers—transformed both the city and the experience of city-living, as London expanded in every direction.

Now Judith Flanders, one of Britain’s foremost social historians, explores the world portrayed so vividly in Dickens’ novels, showing life on the streets of London in colorful, fascinating detail. Judith Flanders leads us through the markets, transport systems, sewers, rivers, slums, alleys, cemeteries, gin palaces, chop-houses and entertainment emporia of Dickens' London, to reveal the Victorian capital in all its variety, vibrancy, and squalor.

My Review: Link to my review on Amazon.