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Growing Food: A Guide for Beginners

A Book Review

I met Jean Ann Van Krevelen through Twitter and she has become a great gardening friend. She is also one of the few Twitter peeps that I have actually met in person and I can say that she is just as nice in real life as she is in the virtual world. Jean Ann blogs in several places including Gardener To Farmer and Portland Foodie. If you Twitter, you should follow her. (At the time of this writing she has almost 3,500 followers. Whew!)

GrowingFood Jean Ann has just written a new book on gardening called Growing Food: A Guide for Beginners and it could not have come at a better time. With the current economic crisis, many people are turning to their gardens for both food and comfort. Even First Lady, Michelle Obama, is getting in on the action. But not everyone knows exactly how to go about growing food. In fact, if you are a newbie, it can be down right intimidating!Wouldn’t it would be helpful to have a special gardening friend for help and advice when you are starting a new veggie garden? That is what you find in Growing Food. This book helps take the intimidation out of the garden.

Jean Ann speaks to the reader as if she is talking to a neighbor over the garden fence. Her book is a combination of Victory Garden/Cookbook/Resource Guide all rolled into one. I love what she says in the introduction titled: “Can You Survive Without a Grocery Store?” As she is talking about America’s shift over the last 50 years from home gardeners to people who only buy their vegetables from the grocery store, she says this:

“But somewhere in this cultural shift, we’ve lost our respect for food.  We have lost the understanding of what it means to value the earth and the bounty that it provides. We’ve lost touch with small farmers, now struggling to survive. We’ve lost the ability to provide for ourselves. And this is a bad time to not know how to provide for ourselves.

In her book, Jean Ann shows the reader how to reclaim their past and start growing food again. She covers all the basics such as raised beds, soil amendments, compost and small space gardening and then moves into how to handle pests and diseases using organic methods. The remainder of the book is Jean Ann’s “Top Ten (Eleven) Vegetables to Grow” featuring tips, special info and even recipes for how to use what you grow.

But what makes this book even more special, is the valuable “Resource Section” at the end. You see, Jean Ann knows electronic media and she understands the importance of being able to connect via the Web with other gardeners. The resource section is a listing of garden Websites, Blogs, and Networks that connect the reader for further research. Most of her recommendations are the same places I visit on a regular basis so I can confirm that they are top-notch listings.

Growing Food was released a few weeks ago as an e-book that you can download to a Kindle. Today, it comes out in printed form. You can order the paper copy HERE. Or you can order the Kindle Edition HERE.

Growing Food is the perfect resource for anyone even thinking about growing veggies in their backyard. One read through and you can’t wait to get out there to get your hands dirty!

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy® and is the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two teenage boys and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.


  • TeresaR says:

    Love the review! I’m sharing this on Facebook. 🙂

  • M Winslow says:

    Another thing to keep in mind is keeping yourself safe while you are out gardening. Check out for a few ideas on things to make your gardening experience more pleasant – like women’s large sun hats.

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