Happy New Year, Inside Storey readers!
I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but here in North Adams, January has started with a bang: the snow is coming down in dizzying spirals, schools are closed, and roads are slick. Though the weather makes it difficult to imagine warmer days when green things thrive, days like today are the best days for garden planning, sitting down by the fire with a stack of seed catalogs and drawing rough sketches of garden beds.
In the midst of last year’s growing season, my mom—a long-time grower of flowers and a dedicated dabbler in cultivating veggies—declared that she was finished with vegetable gardening: the animals and insects that populate the woods around her garden (deer, squirrels and chipmunks, potato beetles, the dreaded woodchuck) had helped themselves to every single fruit or vegetable she’d attempted to grow, from to ground cherries and tomatoes to greens.
That’s why there’s a copy of The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener
by Tammi Hartung
in my mom’s future. She’s not a hater of animals or insects, and while I know how humbling and sometimes frustrating it can be to grow one’s own food, I can’t stand the idea of her throwing in the towel altogether (after all, she’s never let me quit anything without providing me with tools or advice that provide a necessary shift in perspective).
Tammi’s book, which is dedicated to growing the foods and flowers you love without waging war on the wildlife that shares your space, is alive with charming illustrations and filled with tips, tricks, and techniques for everything from soil health to protecting what you grow without resorting to poisons or painful traps. There’s also ample advice on attracting the bugs and critters that can do a garden good—something I know my mom, a novice beekeeper, will appreciate.