Normally smaller paperback gardening books don’t find a home on my bookshelf. It’s not because they aren’t useful, but I find them more of a read and pass along book. This book however is one that I’m almost afraid to loan out. It is chocked full of so much useful information that I refer to it often. That is why The Truth About Garden Remedies: What Works, What Doesn’t, and Why is one of my new favorites. Many gardening books cover what works and what doesn’t in the garden, but this one covers the “why.” I have never been satisfied with just “yes” or “no” answers to my questions. I’ve always wanted to know why. Knowing the “why” always gives you a much better foundation of information from which to work.
I recently received a free trial of an organic fertilizer to try in the garden. I looked at the label and I couldn’t find anything about the ingredients other than it was a special proprietary formula. Don’t give me that crap. Give me the ingredients. I’m not going to put a fertilizer on my vegetable garden if I don’t know what is in it. That’s why I like this book. Rather than just passing along garden remedies found in previous books, Jeff Gillman gets to the heart of the ingredients in these remedies and puts them to the test.
One of my favorite chapters in the book involves testing crushed egg shells as a deterrent for slugs. So disappointing were the results that Jeff was forced to go out and try some diatomaceous earth on the slugs just to prove that putting sharp things around your plants would work. He writes with the glee only a true plant lover (and therefore slug hater) could write
I needn’t have worried. The slugs clearly hated the stuff [diatomaceous earth]. One bolted off the plate in the first 10 minutes. (This was a sad and pitiful thing to watch because he was constantly winding and rolling, trying to get away from the sharp substance under his foot. If I had any sympathy for slugs I would have helped him, but I don’t, so I didn’t.) The other six slugs remained confined to the plate after 3 hours. When I again checked the plate after 12 hours all the slugs had left with the exception of one, which had perished. At this point I feel rather confident saying diatomaceous earth works as advertised.
The testing methods are scientific. But this isn’t dry science, this is fun science. This is the Myth Busters of gardening science. Easy to understand and enjoyable to read, The Truth About Garden Remedies will make you think twice about some of those kitchen sink garden remedies we’ve been using for years. It will also reaffirm your belief in others and give you the scientific data to answer the “why.”
Who should you gift this book to: Any organic gardener or any gardening know-it-all who is constantly mixing concoctions in their kitchen sink and trying to force you to use them. One is a gift for them, the other a gift for you.