Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book Review - "You Grow Girl" by Gayla Trail

I was of two minds where to post this review on my blogs, but in the end gardening is a hobby so here it goes on the hobby page! First off, I am NOT a talented gardener. I've inherited a fairly black thumb from the ladies in my family, I live in a condo with very little growing space, and I can kill just about anything plant-like just by looking at it! But being a biologist and a firm believer in expanding your own abilities to produce things on your own, its was inevitable that I eventually would be bitten by the grow-your-own-food bug. It started with the rapid consumption of The Herb Companion and Herb Quarterly magazines, expanded to such journals as Hobby Farm and Hobby Farm Home, and started to make inroads into my book purchases where I found this little gem: "You Grow Girl" by Gayla Trail.

Guys, I'm sorry to say you might not want to use this as your primary urban garden reference because it is definitely written with the female community in mind. But for those of us city girls who are eager to try something new in the space we have, dive right in! There are tips for how to buy plants, how to find the tools you need and have room for, discussions of the special problems and potentials of container gardening, how-to's for making your own garden apron, and above all a fun "can-do" attitude that is a joy to read! Ms. Trail is the author of the very popular garden blog and she has taken the treasure trove of tips and experiences she and her readers have shared to create this book. This is still the first book I go to when I'm mucking around in my city dirt!

And that right there is probably the key to why this book is so accessible. This is written from a single city-girl's point of view who lives in an apartment or condo. There are many many many gardening books out there that are beautiful to read but just drive you crazy because you almost have to be a pro gardener to do anything mentioned in them! Azaleas? Sunflowers? Blue bonnets? Annuals, perennials, did I mention succulents?! The gardening world is HUGE, and all the more daunting to get into because if it. By backing off and starting at where most young women actually live, Ms. Trail has taken the vastness out of gardening and made it something adaptable, accessible, and above all possible for us to do too. No longer do we have to wait until we are 65 and retired to enjoy growing our own tomatoes or eating fresh potatoes. We don't have to wear large flower print dresses with straw hats to enjoy a rose or wildflower on our porch! And best of all, we don't have to spend money we don't have to get started! Now that's something I can jump into!

Check out the forums at if you'd like more info on the book!

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