From My Bookshelf | The Green Thumb Garden Handbook | Doc & Katy Abraham
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From My Bookshelf: Green Thumb

This edition of From My Bookshelf is a unique one, in that I am featuring just one book, and it is not a typical read-cover-to-cover book like the others I’ve written about. I picked it up on a whim at my favorite bookstore, and figured I would share it via FMB before spring ends: The Green Thumb Garden Handbook by Doc and Katy Abraham.

From My Bookshelf | The Green Thumb Garden Handbook | Doc & Katy Abraham

First, I should say that I am the ultimate wannabe gardener. I have a couple of low maintenance house plants (plus one zygocactus), and have tended a garden before, but I have very little experience creating and maintaining a garden. I live in an apartment with no plot of land to cultivate, but hope to have a flourishing garden(s) someday. Hopefully by that “someday” I will have read, studied, and absorbed all the information in this book. 😉

Second, this book (written for gardeners in America) was originally published in 1977, but mine is the 1992 edition. I know there is a 1999 edition out there, but I don’t think the book has been updated since then. The authors, married couple George “Doc” and Katy Abraham, co-hosted a successful call-in radio show in Rochester, New York from 1952 to 2002, where they offered gardening and outdoor tips and advice. You wouldn’t know this from the author description on the back of the book, however it does speak to their popularity.

From the back cover:

Doc & Katy Abraham are two of America’s best-known horticulturalists and are the authors of numerous books, including Growing Plants from Seed…Through their syndicated column “The Green Thumb,” their advice has shown millions of people how to have healthier plants indoors and out.

There is very little readily available information on the Abrahams; in fact, this article is the most detailed source of information I’ve been able to find apart from their obituaries. I didn’t know anything about them before picking up this book, but what made me want to buy it (besides my love for handbooks, guides, and encyclopedic tomes) and use it is how it’s written. It feels conversational, which draws me in, and the information is presented as though the authors wanted it to be understood by readers and gardeners of all ages and skill levels. It reminds me of The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum (the recipe book of desserts) – you’re given all the information you need in a no-nonsense way, but with the feeling that the author(s) wants their readers to succeed.

Charts, illustrations, diagrams, and other graphics supplement the text, which is of course even better than just a guide filled with words. And yes, there is outdated information about using chemicals on lawns and gardens (interesting enough, the authors were in support of chemical weed killers only as an absolutely last resort, but seem to have been solid proponents of chemical insecticides), and I’m not sure if the suggested contacts (addresses, phone numbers for agricultural guidelines and additional resources) are still current, but the basic information I’ve read so far is quite invaluable.

[Also] from the back cover:

The Green Thumb Garden Handbook will answer your questions about trees, lawns, container gardening, bulbs, annuals, herbs, vegetables, plant propagation, fertilizers, pruning, planting, and on and on—literally thousands of sage tips and nuggets of useful know-how. Above all, the authors share their secrets of a “green thumb,” helping the average home gardener develop the magic touch.

Well, that was certainly longer than I expected it to be, but that’s the fun of doing these From My Bookshelf posts – I can never be completely sure where my thoughts and typing fingers will take me.

Do you like to collect or look for handbooks like this? And if you’re an avid gardener living in a location experiencing spring right now, I’d love to know how your season is going.

Happy reading (and gardening)!



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