Garden Lifestyle

Gardening and Geeks Go Together

Garden nerds unite!

Christy Wilhelmi's new book will help you learn how to grow a sustainable garden that really produces.

Christy Wilhelmi wants her Gardening for Geeks book (Adams Media, 2013) to be a “geeky gateway into all things cool about gardening.” She wrote her gardening book to help gardeners (geeky or not) learn how to make the most of very inch of their garden space.

As the founder of and an organic garden designer, she understands what kinds of information gardeners need in order to be successful. 

As a gardener, she’s able to grow between 70-80 percent of her family’s produce in a garden that measures less than 200 square feet. 

She’s able to accomplish so much in such a small space because she uses bio-intensive gardening methods. In chapter 5, “Small Space/Urban Gardening,” she explains the different gardening methods that can help gardeners grow high volumes of produce in very small spaces.

Wilhelmi begins by dishing the dirt on soil and shows what to do to get the perfect ph balance and the right nutrient levels that plants need. She openly shares the secrets of the best organic fertilizers and introduces gardeners to the important organisms that make up the soil foodweb.

What I like about Gardening for Geeks is that it deciphers all the math, biology and ecology of gardening using Wilhelmi’s easy, breezy writing style.

I also like how she includes interesting DIY projects like how to build a swarm box for bees, how to construct a tomato crib and how to build a solar food dehydrator.

Beginning gardeners will appreciate the chapter that explains the difference between heirloom, open-pollinated and hybrid seeds, followed by the specifics of growing about 30 different vegetables and herbs.

Another nice feature is the recipes she adds near the end of the book.

Throughout her book, Wilhelmi offers informative “Geeky Gardening Tips” that add to the content. My favorite is the one called “The Science of Composting” on page 69. In this sidebar she provides “Bunsen burner details for the uber-geeks out there” and explains a study conducted at Washington State University using compost piles of cow manure and wood shavings.

Biodynamic preparations were applied to some of the piles, but not the control group. After eight weeks of composting, the biodynamic-treated compost maintained a higher temperature and faster development of compost. 

That’s the kind of science that could make a big difference in my garden. How about yours?

My free review copy of “Gardening for Geeks” was provided by Adams Media.

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