LIBRARY SHELF: Start your spring gardening plan at SPL – Stillwater News Press


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Is there a more iconic representation of spring than a garden? The images that come to mind when things begin to thaw are new sprouts of growth, fresh buds of leaves and flowers and freshly tilled gardens. Spring is the time to get the dirt refreshed, bring the seeds out of storage and don the gardening gloves. Spring is also the time to open a book or two about gardening and try something new and fresh for the planting season.I grew up gardening with my parents, and like most kids, hated the weeding and scheduled waterings but loved the harvest! Somehow, in my 50 plus years of life, that never changed. I am always looking for a weed dampening shortcut that won’t put chemicals in my crops as well as water preserving methods to cut down on the time I spend watering the garden. I am not a master gardener so this is not an article to reveal a wonderful new method to make gardening effortless. I can, however, recommend some great books from the Stillwater Public Library that have options for any gardener.A book can’t take care of the garden, but it can give the gardener starting points. Beginning with good soil makes sense, and “Building Soil” by Elizabeth Murphy gives some great ideas on how to make soil that will feed your garden no matter which plants you are growing. The author breaks it all down into simple ideas and solutions, from elements and minerals to compost and mulch. 
Once you have good soil it is time to plan the garden. Will it be a raised bed, square foot or a water garden? Whatever design you decide on the Stillwater Public Library has a helpful book. “The All-New Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew and “Lazy-Bed Gardening” by John Jeavons and Carol Cox will both be useful for gardening in small spaces. Each of these gives great how-to methods with diagrams and extensive plant varieties with space requirements. “Raised-Bed Gardening” by Simon Akeroyd provides the lowdown on everything for a raised bed from compost to harvest. Or try “The Water-Saving Garden” by Pam Penick for beautiful plants that use less water, saving you from the arduous task of watering often (or pulling out dried-out plants because you forgot to water, like me).Planting is next and you can start with seeds or grow new plants from propagation. “Derek Fell’s Grow This” makes sense for this stage of gardening. He has many species listed with pictures and descriptions of what to look for, how to start and when where plants will grow. If you prefer to propagate because you have great plants already, “Propagating Plants” edited by Alan Toogood will serve you well. The book lists many ways to start a variety of species from your cuttings. The illustrations are helpful, too.Seeing your plants grow is better than any pictures in a book and means your research and hard work are paying off! Then, the bugs and weeds show up. Many of those bugs are necessary for pollination and make you smile but some want to eat your plants! For those, consult “The Naturally Bug-Free Garden” by Anna Hess. Hess helps you thwart those pests without harming your plants. You may also want to consult “101 Organic Gardening Hacks” by Shawna Coronado. She covers everything from soil and weeds to decorating your garden. The pictures provided are very inspirational.

If you are not inspired to spend lots of time in your garden, you may want to read “The 20-Minute Gardener” by Tom Christopher and Marty Asher. This book gives ideas from planning to pruning in record time. The authors utilize humor to keep it all light and fun as well. A garden is supposed to be therapeutic, and not stressful, after all! Once you have read these books, or any of the other great books we have on the subject of gardening, you’ll be ready to don those gloves, roll up your sleeves and make the garden of your dreams.Contact: Lisa O’Donnell, Stillwater Public LibraryPhone: 405-372-3633 x8106Email: [email protected]:

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