Christmas came early for me this year with a sneak preview of the amazing Chris McLaughlin’s newest book: Vertical Vegetable Gardening (officially launching on New Year’s Eve). Let me tell you something here: I know some stuff when it comes to gardening–I’m no horticulturist, but I know stuff. This book? I learned me things. Things that have changed me forever (like the ‘Caveman Sun Blueprint’, but I’m getting ahead of myself). With a disarming mixture of practical knowledge and wit, Chris not only enlightens us on the space-saving fun and functionality of vertical gardening, but delves into the mechanics of healthy, organic gardening practices in a refreshingly approachable way.
My over-eager post-it note-taking skills at work.
The real guts of Vertical Vegetable Gardening, is, of course, vertical vegetable gardening. Chris sings the praises of growing things up instead of out, and for me, living and gardening in my snug 7500 sq foot lot, this is pure, unadulterated genius. She not only divulges what types of veggies and herbs are great for growing upwards, but how to also integrate those that are ‘vertically challenged’. The book is chock-full of plans and directions on how to build simple supports, containers, and displays, and for anyone who is not so handy, suggestions on which ready-made options to buy. My gardening-senses are tingling….I feel some projects coming on!
A painfully blank expanse of Farmhouse fencing that I think is just begging for a hanging gutter herb garden (see pg. 36 in the book for an example).
Another expanse of fence that I have already strung with wire to entice the Morning Glory vine….I’m thinking with a little more wire (and a Morning Glory haircut), this might be a perfect spot for some beans to ramble up in the spring.
My pile of salvaged, leftover, and scavenged materials that I just can’t wait to turn into some sort of funky vertical garden elements.
But Chris is so very much more than her space-saving vertical vegetables….I adore her take on composting. I am new to the practice (and, rather fixated on it, at the moment), and subsequently, I have done a lot of research on it as of late, trying to ascertain the composting ‘path of least resistance’. There’s a ton of information out there, and it is usually so overwhelmingly scientific that the cogs in my brain jam up and the little hamster abandons his wheel for a two week hiatus in Barbados. I digress. Chris humanizes composting so brilliantly that I seriously want to hug her. She doesn’t fuss over her compost, she doesn’t take its temperature daily like it may be ovulating–and with a couple of her easy-to-grasp guidelines, it turns out just fine. I can handle that! The hamster’s island vacation has been cut short. He’s not even tan.
Oh, post-its, how I love thee….
I mentioned the ‘Caveman Sun Blueprint’. Yep, just another priceless nugget of brilliance I am taking away from this book! I have long-struggled with tracking the sun patterns in my yard, in fact, I have wasted many a day writing endless lists of which beds get what amount of sun/shade at what time of the day. No more. The blueprint is such a better way! How does it work, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to read the book, now, won’t you? Muhahahaha!
Vertical Vegetable Gardening is available thru Amazon and all other major book sellers on December 31st (available now for pre-ordering)! Check out Chris McLaughlin on her website www.ASuburbanFarmer.com, on Farm Chick Chit Chat, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter for more on the life and times of this funny and brilliant suburban farmer-lady.