It’s been a tough year for gardeners in my neck of the woods. The extended cool weather, drenching thunderstorms and damaging hail are like piling on for gardeners who have so many other gardening obstacles to overcome each season.
But help is on the way in the form of a new edible gardening book by award-winning horticulturist Diana (Dee) Maranhao who lives in southern Utah. Her new book, Rocky Mountain Fruit & Vegetable Gardening (Cool Springs Press, 2014) promises gardeners they’ll learn how to “Plant, Grow and Harvest the Best Edibles.”
Maranhao’s book is part of this year’s crop of books to help gardeners learn how to cope with a difficult growing environment. This is especially true for those of us who garden in every corner of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming
“Late season frosts, rapidly rising temps from the final snow to spring warm up, we’ve got it all,” she says.
She begins her book with the basics of successful gardening in the Rocky Mountain region. Hardiness zone maps and tables of frost dates are the jumping off point to amending the soil and planning and planting the garden.
Beginners and experts alike will benefit from Maranhao’s growing tips and discussion of best practices for maintaining a Rocky Mountain vegetable garden. She includes enough detail in an easy-to-read style that seems like an old-fashioned, over-the-fence conversation with a neighbor.
Her book is a true region-specific fruit and vegetable resource that details 60 varieties that will produce under tough conditions. Each description includes recommended varieties, where and when to plant, how to plant and how to harvest. She includes all the favorites, plus some that are often overlooked, liked garden huckleberry and collards.
The book also includes a good section for growing fruit, from planting to pruning trees. These include regional growers like apricot, apple, cherry, peach, nectarine, pear and plum. Pecans and walnuts are also part of the discussion.
Maranhao’s recommendations help take the guesswork out of which varieties to plant in our region. As she mentions in the book’s introduction, it’s a helpful reference to pack along for a shopping trip to the garden center.
“My goal is to take the mystery out of gardening, to make it easy to garden and to encourage everyone to garden who wants to,” she writes in the preface. Her new book is a great resource for helping gardeners do just that.
(Cool Springs Press provided a complimentary review copy of Maranhao’s new book.)