Friday, June 06, 2014

Review: The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting

The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting: An Easy, Organic Way to Deter Pests, Prevent Disease, Improve Flavor, and Increase Yields in Your Vegetable GardenThe Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting: An Easy, Organic Way to Deter Pests, Prevent Disease, Improve Flavor, and Increase Yields in Your Vegetable Garden by Josie Jeffrey

As a beginning gardener, I appreciate every gardening book that I can access. I especially appreciate easy to read and imaginative titles. This title caught my attention from the title: The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting. Mix & Match, eh? Sounds like an imaginative and fun book to read for this Children's Librarian. (Here is the original press release.)

The book arrived in it's package and I could not wait to see beneath the cardboard and bubble wrap! (Thank you Reda for packing the book so carefully!) As I unfolded the plastic covering, I was immediately impressed at the sturdiness of the book. I expected the book to be a paperback, but it is a hardcover with wire binding (versus a more commonly seen plastic comb for binding books). The opening pages are glossy and colorful, while the mix & match section is printed on cardstock in earthtones and full color plant images. Well done, Ten Speed Press!

The opening chapters highlighted a variety of information from history to biology in gardening with a dash of beliefs and theories thrown in. It was a quick read and very informative. Certain sections reminded me of high school biology, but a little refresher never hurt anyone! The touch of background information gives the beginning garden (like myself) an understanding of the reasoning behind publishing "another book about gardening." This book is unique and created a niche for itself. If more information is desired by the reader, Jeffrey shared excellent science terms that can easily be researched. The only text that caught me off guard was the very occasional phrase of harmonizing with the universe or the cosmos. I'm just interested in growing a garden.

The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting by Josie Jeffery
Now to the Mix & Match section! There are three sections - aboveground companions, central crop, and belowground companions. Each section contains 25 different plants from flowers to veggies to herbs and fruit. I recognized most of the plants offered as companions. Each card contains a picture, the name of the plant, if it is a perennial or annual, and brief growing tips. Beyond that information is the companion system that Jeffrey created with different colored circles to identify different ways plants can be companions. Jeffrey shares 16 different ways plants can benefit each other, which are shared at the beginning of the book. (I do wish that the chart was a foldout, so it could be viewed at the same time as finding plant matches, but a photocopy will work just as well.) Not all plants will be all matches, but gardeners can mix and match and try a wide variety of different matches! This collection definitely goes beyond my companion planting of tomatoes and marigolds.

I think gardeners of any age or ability will enjoy this title. The Mix & Match pages will entertain and enthrall a wide audience. Thank you, Blogging for Books for this review copy! I cannot wait to try some companion planting!

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

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