Summer Reading Program is in full-swing at the OC Public Library. Stop by your local branch and check out the available activities. In addition to programs for kids and teens, many branches also have a program for adults.
Since this year’s theme is “Reading Is SO Delicious,” I'm recommending several books to help you grow your own delicious food. I love to garden. I have a vegetable garden in the backyard and two plots at my local Community Garden. Gardening is great exercise, promotes a healthier diet, and saves money. Why pay exorbitant prices for organic produce at the supermarket when a little time and effort will yield your own bountiful harvest? Besides, everything tastes better when you grow it yourself.
3 Step Vegetable Gardening is a great resource for the beginner gardener. The book breaks gardening down into three easy steps: sow, grow and harvest. Concepts are simply explained, and illustrated by great color photographs. The emphasis on soil preparation is especially helpful, and I like the sections on how to choose the best easy-care vegetable varieties.
How to Grow Food is another great book for beginners. In addition to vegetables, this book has chapters on growing herbs, fruit trees, nut trees and berry vines. The fruit you buy at the supermarket was probably picked when it was rock hard. Nothing tastes better than a peach that has been allowed to fully ripen on the tree.
Interested in gardening, but live on the 4th floor of an apartment complex? The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible is the book for those who don’t have an available yard. Garden guru Edward C. Smith provides step-by-step advice on selecting containers, potting soils, compost, and the best vegetable varieties that thrive in the container environment. Containers do have limitations. You may not have much success with beef steak-sized tomatoes, but smaller-sized tomatoes do pretty well in pots. Try Sun Gold, a sweet prolific cherry variety with a deep golden color.
Wondering what to do with your bountiful harvest? Grow Cook Eat is chock-full of luscious, easy-to-prepare recipes and cooking ideas. Also helpful is the advice on storing food in a way that maximizes flavor. Check out the recipe for Strawberry-Basil Ice Cream, and you’ll agree that “Reading Is SO Delicious.”
Gardening can be hard work. Don't forget to take a break and visit your local branch of OC Public Library.