Reviewed by Alyssa Katanic

My afternoons this winter were spent reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series with the kiddos. I have to admit that Farmer Boy is one of my favorites. It speaks of her husband Almonzo’s childhood on the farm and provides detailed descriptions on how they planted, harvested, and ate the good things they grew. Jerry Apps’ Garden Wisdom is the adult version of Farmer Boy and inspires its readers to “go for it!” and enjoy the work and rewards of vegetable gardening for themselves.

Garden Wisdom is written in three parts. The first section describes the author’s heritage and experience with farming and gardening. Jerry Apps is a third generation farmer as well as a professor of Agriculture in Wisconsin. Apps draws a great picture of growing up on his parents’ farm, which taught him more practical gardening wisdom (or the art of gardening, as he calls it) than any text in his college experience.

The second part of Garden Wisdom speaks of planning and planting your garden. Apps gives a very personal touch to the “how to’s” that show a welcoming and relaxed personality. He clearly shows, and passes along, his passion and enjoyment of the entire process.

The final section of Garden Wisdom, however, is probably my favorite. Apps breaks the chapters into sections of what to harvest when and how, a bit of history concerning the vegetable, and some of the nutritional value of each. It also includes many recipes to show you what to do with the wonderful foods you have planned, grown, harvested, and are ready to enjoy.

As reading Farmer Boy always seems to do for me, Garden Wisdom is a great inspiration to get outside and get moving on this year’s garden… especially now that I have a bit more garden wisdom!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Alyssa is a wife and stay at home, homeschooling mother of five, with two boxers, two cats, a soft shelled turtle named after Bob the Builder, and 7 frogs (admittedly a homeschooling project gone froggy). In all her spare time, she loves to read and believes that there is no such thing as having too many books!

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Wisconsin Historical Society Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.