In reviewing their new book, I first have to admit a certain bias for Linn County Master Gardeners, who have been longtime contributors to Homegrown.
At the same time, it’s those qualities I admire about this group of experts – their down-to-earth advice, practical experience and willingness to share their knowledge – that makes “Getting Your Hands Dirty and Your Feet Wet Again” an essential gardening handbook.
The book is a compilation of gardening information, personal experiences and answers to common gardening questions, written and researched by local master gardeners.
If you garden in the Midwest, but especially in Iowa, this book offers targeted information on what to do in each of the four seasons. March is a perfect time to read this resource, which has sections on planning and basics of starting a garden.
Thinking about using a raised bed? The book has information not only on the reasons to use this popular gardening method, but how to incorporate square-foot-gardening into a raised bed and a recipe for the perfect soil to use.
Colorful photos and helpful illustrations provide great examples on topics like vertical gardening and problems such as Hosta Virus X.
If you like “top 10” lists, you won’t be disappointed, with master gardeners weighing in on their favorite vegetables – “Bright Lights” Swiss chard and “Honey Select” sweet corn make the cut – as well as favorite gardening tools, annuals and shrubs.
More than 40 master gardeners contributed to the book, the second in a series after the first edition was published in 2006.
Phil Pfister, for example, points out the attributes of mulch, which includes conserving moisture, controlling weeds, moderating the soil temperature and, something I hadn’t consciously thought of before, providing a fragrant scent to the landscape.
Gloria Johnson Jackson shares information on common species names and their meanings. Did you know that “hirtus” means shaggy and “nifidus” means shining?
“Getting Your Hands Dirty and Your Feet Wet Again” is available for $20 each at the ISU Linn County Extension Office at 383 Collins Rd. NE, Suite 201, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402.
Regular office hours are 8:00am-4:30pm Monday-Friday. Or you can order a book and have it shipped to you. There is an additional charge $5 fee per book for shipping.
Proceeds from sales will be used to fund Linn County Master Gardener educational programs.