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Gardening in the fast lane

The Speedy Vegetable Garden by Mark Diacono and Lia Leendertz is a quick read (that’s a joke). Actually this wonderful book by Timber Press arrived just in time to stave off the mid-winter crazies. Too soon to plant outside but full on garden growing in my brain. I had been looking for a book on sprouting – not necessarily because I crave speed, but I certainly crave that special taste – and pride – you only receive from growing your own food.

This book provided my sprouting education – or, in all fairness, refresher – I remember when sprouts were all the rage in the ’70′s and my mom always had a mason jar of alfalfa sprouts in production under the kitchen sink. Sadly, alfalfa sprouts always grossed me out so I was determined this new phase of sprouting would be tastier and The Speedy Vegetable Garden delivered the info to make that happen. Sunflower sprouts – a favorite. Fenugreek and chickpea? I can’t wait to try them!

Sprouts have a slightly older sibling… micro-greens. Having associated micro greens with restaurants I can’t afford I had never thought to grow them myself. I now have a tray of arugula babies sprouting away in my garage.

The best part of this book from the perspective of an educator (we teach hundreds of new gardeners each year at The Peterson Garden Project) is the full-on vegetable section. It isn’t that the growing techniques are different, per se, but the philosophy is… grow things that come on fast and eat them small (new potatoes, radishes, tiny zucchini). And do a lot of succession planting… The new gardeners we teach often have a case of A.D.D. (sorry folks, it is true!) They aren’t familiar with the growing season and they want stuff NOW. Of course we know this can’t happen, but by approaching this new set of growers with a small/new, fast growing perspective it might help them get more instant gratification on the beginning of their gardening journey.

Speedy vegetables, long-term gardeners. Sounds like a good plan to me.

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