april book giveaway: ruth stout and jim crockett!
THIS MONTH’S BOOK GIVEAWAY IS ALL ABOUT MY HEROES. The two books up for grabs are ones I have turned to many times in my decades-long gardening career. Their authors, mulch-mad, no-work-garden Ruth Stout, and the original “Victory Garden” host Jim Crockett, feel like old friends. Want a chance to win “Gardening Without Work” or “Crockett’s Victory Garden”? I tracked down copies just for you.
Last month’s giveaway, my first ever on the blog, was such a hit that I promised a monthly event (though in April we might just have a surprise “extra” edition, so stay tuned). As a garden writer, it seems fitting that I should give away not just my own book (as I did last month, and promise to again) but also books by those who’ve taught me. I have been stockpiling some goodies from the used-book dealers the last few weeks.
Crockett’s Victory Garden
James Underwood Crockett (first published, 1977)
The star of the PBS series “The Victory Garden” was also the author of a series of books on how to garden, and this is my favorite of his. It was my first garden book ever, given to me by my sister, so maybe that’s why, but I think its value far exceeds the sentiment attached. Dated (meaning chemicals are used and cultivars are passé) but the best beginner’s book there is, taking you month by month through all the basics of growing food and flowers. Remember: skip the chemicals. I hope he would if he were here today.
Gardening Without Work
Ruth Stout (first published, 1961)
Ruth Stout’s wonderful work was published when she was 76. Though I am a couple of decades shy, the subtitle running up the right side of the cover cries out: “For the Aging, the Busy & the Indolent.”
It is more the spirit of the book than anything else that I love, an attitude brought to life in a series of videos of her that I found and shared recently, as you may recall. Written a year before Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” came out, Stout’s funny little volume likewise decried use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. Stout had no tolerance for the burning of leaves, or for wasting the most precious of commodities, water. What she loved: mulch. And mulch. And more mulch. (If you haven’t read my ode to her, it’s here.)
Both books were bought used to offer as prizes, and are paperback editions. I’ll draw two names using the random number selector at random dot org; the first will win the Crockett and the second the Stout. Here’s how to enter:
Simply comment below, telling us who your garden-writing heroes are. What book(s) did you learn from, and therefore treasure your copies of?
Entries will close at midnight next Monday, April 26, and winners will be announced Tuesday. Good luck to all. I can’t wait to hear what books have shaped your gardening careers. Could lead to more shopping for future prizes.