green thumb not required

I am an expert at gardening. Destroying them, I mean. I forget to water or get overcome by my allergies and hide inside or come out to find that all my beautiful herbs were enjoyed by bunnies and squirrels or destroyed by the crazy Kansas weather. Are you like me? Because now there is help. Kelly Orzel has written a book to give us all expert advice with plants.

The Backyard Gardener: Simple, Easy, and Beautiful Gardening with Vegetables, Herbs, and Flowers offers help and resources for people like me. She takes you step by step through the process, from the ground up. 

Horticulturist Orzel starts with the foundation, the soil, and helps you prepare it. She helps you understand the tools you need, how to feed the soil, why weeding is so important, how to deal with damaged or diseased plants, and how to deal with pests. She draws on her years of experience to offer simple explanations and workable solutions. 

From there, The Backyard Gardener takes you through planting and propagation, starting seeds indoors, saving seeds, dividing plants, and transplanting. It also provides practices for organic growing, like crop rotation, succession planting, intercropping, plant stacking, and companion gardening. In other words, Orzel helps you plan the timing and location of your plants to make the most of your soil. 

Then she takes you through a host of vegetable, herb, and flower plants, offering foolproof strategies for keeping them healthy and strong until it's time to harvest and enjoy. Lettuces, root vegetables, savory herbs, and beautiful flowers all combine in fresh ways to create a beautiful, sustainable garden for beginner and intermediate gardeners. 

The book includes lots of beautiful photos for inspiration and so many resources for once you're ready to go on your own plot. Suggested reading and websites, suppliers of gardening supplies, garden calendars, and seasonal checklists all help you plan and prepare for your best garden yet. 

As for me, maybe this is my year. The Backyard Gardener has given me so much information I can take to my favorite garden center and start to build my beautiful backyard garden. I don't think I can reverse all my years of unsuccessful gardening in only one year, but I can make a start. And now I know just where to begin. There is hope, even for a black thumb like me! 


Galleys for The Backyard Gardener were provided by the publisher through