The Anxious Gardener’s Book of Answers

Beginner gardeners are often advised to consult neighbours for advice on what works, what doesn’t, and how to fix common problems. But when neighbours can’t help and Internet searches turn up conflicting lines of thought, a title like The Anxious Gardener’s Book of Answers seems the perfect welcome relief.

Author Teri Dunn Chace makes a valiant effort at covering a broad range of topics, naming common gardening mistakes and how to fix them. But she stretches herself a bit too thin in some places, and misses the mark completely in others. Case in point: do you really need a book to tell you that wearing a bandanna protects your head from the sun or that it’s a good idea to invest in quality gardening tools? It would be more useful to read what to do when tomato seedlings suffer transplant shock because they were set out too early.

Ultimately the book suffers from a confusing organizational structure, which makes it difficult to find answers quickly and easily. There is, however, some excellent information ferreted away in the book’s pages. In winter months, when actual gardening gives way to mental planning, this will be a good reference for preventing potential mistakes and mishaps before they happen. But in the thick of gardening season, web searches may be a better way out of a tight spot.

The Anxious Gardener’s Book of Answers
By Teri Dunn Chace (Timber Press, 220 pages, $12.95)

VERDICT: A well-conceived idea, but one that seems to work better as a preventative treatment rather than a curative action.

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