The Wildlife–Friendly Vegetable Gardener

How to coexist with insect and animals in any garden

Reviewed by Veronica Sliva

The lovely illustrations by Holly Ward Bimba were what first drew me to The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener by Tammi Hartung. They play a significant role in making it different from other gardening books.

Hartung introduces a new concept for me…something called a “perennial backbone”. She’s not referring to a perennial flower border, rather her perennial backbone is made up of the plants that provide us with food year after year. She starts with the trees and shrubs that give us fruits and berries, followed by perennial vegetables like asparagus, and fiddleheads and then perennial herbs like mint, oregano, and thyme. As she describes the plants that grow in what she describes as a perennial backbone, she identifies the wildlife that these food plants attract.

Attracting pollinators is vital for vegetable gardeners and this book explains who the pollinators are and how we can make our gardens more attractive for them. Of course, some wildlife can be bothersome. Hartung suggests strategies to deal with trouble makers like wasps. One way is to redirect these pests from areas where we don’t want them (like the dining table) to other parts of the garden where their presence isn’t a problem.

Though the book’s title suggests that the content is about vegetable gardening, it is not only for those who grow food. Between the covers, this book is packed with information to help anyone who wants to coexist with wildlife in any type of garden.

Veronica Sliva is a Master Gardener and professional garden writer with many years of experience writing for major magazines, newspapers and online gardening resources.

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