Don't let the title of Marie Iannotti's new title from Timber Press fool you. Her guide for growing all that is heirloom is perfect for the beginner and the experienced gardener alike. However, if you are a beginner to this variety of vegetables, you might wonder just what an heirloom vegetable is. According to Ms. Iannotti, there are three requirements that must be fulfilled to make them such:
- They must be open pollinated. (No hybrids here.)
- They must be more than 50 years old.
- They must be storied or historic. (As in, "your grandmother brought these seeds over on the boat from the old country.")
Heirloom Vegetables, the book, includes particulars for 100 of the tastiest and easiest-to-grow veggies. Broken down into 22 sections, from Artichokes to Winter Squash and everything in between, you'll find information on flavor profiles, growing notes and harvesting how-tos. Accompanying each section are luscious photographs by the author herself.
Besides all the invaluable information and images, what I particularly love about this book is its encyclopedic organization. You can find what you're looking for in seconds. No hunting for exposure and watering needs or sowing instructions. All are right where you expect to find them. There's also a great seed-saving guide at the end of the book as well as a handy hardiness zone graph and resource guide for finding seeds to begin your heirloom vegetable garden.
Ultimately, if you are in the market for just one vegetable gardening book this season, I highly recommend Marie Iannotti's The Beginner's Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables. You can find it at Amazon for about $14.