Month: June 2021

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Backyard Vegetable Gardening

Backyard Vegetable Gardening

By John Pecoraro, Associate Director Support Services

In order to raise awareness of the importance of fruits and vegetable in nutrition, the United Nations has proclaimed 2021 to be the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. June is also National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month, the goal of which is to increase the daily consumption of fresh produce. As such, and since we have entered the backyard planting season, this is the perfect time to sample a few of the vegetable gardening books available at your library.

Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook” is the perfect companion for every vegetable gardener. This book demystifies gardening by demonstrating proven methods for sowing, growing, and harvesting. With plentiful color photographs, and reference tables and charts, this handbook provides step-by-step advice for growing over 30 varieties in any plant hardiness zone.

As its subtitle claims, “Niki Jabbour’s Veggie Garden Remix” presents 224 new plants to shake up your garden. Jabbour introduces vegetable varieties from around the world, providing detailed information on how to grow each plant. She also presents fun facts and plant history. After perusing this book, you’ll be a little more familiar with cucamelons, mizuna, and Jerusalem artichokes, while also expanding your knowledge of tomatoes, potatoes, and greens.

Growing Good Food,” by author and climate activist Acadia Tucker, is a beginner’s guide to growing herbs, fruits, and vegetables using organic and sustainable practices. She offers advice on preparing and clearing land, and cultivating healthy soil. She also explains how to protect your plants from pests and disease without damaging the environment. In the end the author will teach you how to grow 21 popular perennials and annuals, including fruit trees, herbs, and vegetables, while also describing the climate changes happening in your own backyard.

For the novice with that little plot of ground who doesn’t know where to start, “Growveg: the Beginner’s Guide to Easy Vegetable Gardening,” by Benedict Vanheems is the place to begin. The friendly instructions and step-by-step photographs explain in detail more than 30 small-scale gardening projects. Chapters cover everything from choosing the best location to plant, to starting from seeds, transplanting, and harvesting. For gardeners without a lot of ground, Vanheems presents alternative methods such as growing potatoes in a trash can, carrots in a basket, and chilis in a bucket.

Turkish orange eggplant, rat-tail radish, walking-stick kale, sweetleaf, and fuchsia berry, these are just a few of the out of the ordinary edibles Matthew Biggs explains how to grow in “Grow Something Different to Eat.” In addition to step-by-step instructions on growing some unusual crops, Biggs includes cooking and preserving suggestions. All the plants detailed in this book can be started indoors and transplanted, grown outdoors in the garden, or kept as houseplants.

The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Midwest,” by Michael VanderBrug demonstrates how to grow your own food in the Heartland. This title focuses on the uniqueness of the Midwest gardening calendar with its month by month format. Perfect for Kansas gardeners. Available as an eBook from Hoopla.

The Beginner’s Guide to Growing Great Vegetables,” by Lorene Edwards Forkner is another title available for free download on Hoopla. This gardening primer covers 30 of the most popular vegetables and herbs, planting charts for every region, and instructions on what to do in your garden every month of the year. This eBook is bursting with color photographs, and filled with the information budding backyard agriculturalists need.

Edible Paradise: How to Grow Herbs, Flowers, Veggies and Fruit in Any Space,” by Vera Greutink, is useful both to container gardeners, and those with the space and ambition to start and maintain a garden. Chapters cover everything you’ll need to know from making compost and building raised planters to incorporating flowers with your herbs and vegetables. This work will help you create your own edible paradise on your patio or balcony, or in your yard.

Federal guidelines recommend adults consume 1.5 to 2 cups of fruits and 2-3 cups of vegetables each day depending on age and gender. The results of a recent study indicated that only 9% of adults met those recommendations. Are you part of the 9%? Growing your own vegetables can help you get there, or you can always visit the Downtown Farmer’s Market https://manhattanfarmersmarket.org/.

by MHK Library staff MHK Library staff No Comments

Summer Reading: Tails and Tales Prize Books

Summer Reading: Tails and Tales Prize Books

By Jennifer Bergen, Program and Children’s Services Manager

Cover image for the book "Not Norman: A Goldfish Story" by Kelly Bennet, Illustrated by Noah Z. JonesThe children’s room of the library has been busy this week! Everyone is stocking up on reading material and signing up for the annual summer reading program. Kids, teens and adults can all join summer reading and get prizes and free books. These are just a few of the great prize books available for kids to choose from:

Bird & Squirrel: On the Run” (book 1) by James Burks is great little graphic novel that covers fear and trust, friendship, adventure, cleverness and cunning, and most of all, multiple ways to simultaneously annoy your friends and also save their lives. When Bird convinces Squirrel to head south together for the winter, the mean old cat decides to follow them, looking for a tasty lunch. It becomes clear that they won’t survive without each other, so Bird and Squirrel live out their catchy theme song while narrowly escaping many dangers.

Titanosaur: Discovering the World’s Largest Dinosaur” was written by the paleontologists who led the dig: Dr. José Luis Carballido and Dr. Diego Pol. The story begins with a gaucho in Argentina searching for a lost sheep when he happens upon a piece of exposed fossilized bone. He later recognizes the shape when looking at a dinosaur skeleton in a museum…only what he saw was “much bigger than that one.” Paleontologist José checks it out, and then brings in a team of scientists and diggers that “uncovered more than 100 bones from 7 different dinosaurs” in that area. When the new Titanosaur skeleton is assembled, it stretches 122 feet and is the largest dinosaur ever found. Dinosaur lovers will really dig this book!

The Bad Guys” (book 1) by Aaron Blabey is so entertaining, kids won’t even know they are reading. Mr. Wolf has been pegged as a bad guy, of course, but he says that is not true. He puts together the perfect team – a snake, a shark and a piranha – to go out and change their images from bad to good. All they need to do is become heroes! That works better if you have a “rock ‘n’ rollin’ chariot of flaming coolness” with “A – Wicked powerful V8 engine that runs on undiluted panther wee. B – Fat wheels for just looking insanely cool.” Etc. If you have a 3rd or 4th grader who rolls their eyes whenever you say it’s time to shut off screens and pick up a book, this is the perfect choice.

Gregor the Overlander” is a riveting fantasy written by Suzanne Collins prior to her fame with “The Hunger Games”. Kids who like to get sucked into a book so they won’t even hear their parents call them for dinner will appreciate this imaginative tale. Gregor is just a normal kid dealing with a little more trauma than usual. His dad has disappeared, and now Gregor has to watch his two-year-old sister, Boots, and look after Grandma whose memory is failing. When Boots falls down an old air duct, he has to go after her. That is how they end up in an underworld with rats, bats and a kingdom he never knew existed… a kingdom he and Boots are now tangled up in.

There’s a Pest in the Garden” by Jan Thomas is a hoot, and it is just right for kids in the early stages of learning to read. What will the farm animals do when they discover a pest is in their garden eating all the beans? Then the corn, and the peas? Maybe Duck has a plan. Thomas’s characters are expressive and funny, using word bubbles to tell their silly story, similar to the popular Elephant and Piggie books.

Not Norman: A Goldfish Story” by Kelly Bennett is about not getting the pet you wanted. Who wants a pet that just swims around and around and around and around? Norman’s owner comes up with some ideas for getting rid of his boring goldfish, but he also learns a few things about Norman in the process. Maybe he’s not so bad after all.

Signing up for summer reading is super easy. You can come to the library or call us, or download the free Beanstack Tracker app and look for Manhattan Public Library. Sign yourself and all your kids up to get some free books, coupons and other fun things while participating as a community that values literacy and reading!

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