Book Review: Soil Mates: Companion Planting for Your Garden by Sara Alway
Length: 128 pages
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Soil Mates is a creative and fun gardening book for companion planting (symbiotic relationships of plants in the vegetable garden). Author Sara Alway makes learning about companion planting simple by using humor and charm in her examples. Alway says that plants are in search of the “perfect companion” and just as people find the best condition for a relationship to grow, so do plants. Each section of the book has Turn ons and Turn offs for plants and also Needy Alerts such as warnings on plants that are high maintenance. The Stalker Alerts give good advise on what pesty animals and insects will devour your plants. The Love Triangle gives a list of plant groupings that grow well together. Some of (Twenty) Soil Mates listed are: Sweet Potato & Summer Savory, Carrot & Onion, Tomato & Basil and Eggplant & Marigold.
After reading about companion planting, the second half of the book is devoted to understanding Garden Preparation, Planning and Care. Even for the practiced gardener there is great advise on Laying the Groundwork with crop rotation and making garden beds, or as author Alway puts it, “making the bed.” Another section in the book named Foreplay describes seed starting and the section on Aphrodisiacs covers the basics in fertilizers and composting. One of my favorite parts about this book are the many garden recipes included that I think most people would actually try out. You will also find a list of Botanical names and their “Quirks and Eccentricities”. There is yet so much more included in this book and I highly recommend it as a gift and as an addition to your library of garden references.
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