Joyce's Reviews > Great Garden Companions: A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden

Great Garden Companions by Sally Jean Cunningham
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's review
Mar 20, 2012

really liked it

The book struck me as light-weight when I checked it out of the library: green type, line drawings, cutesy titling (Love Your Compost Pile), etc. So I didn't have high hopes, despite a friend's enthusiastic recommendation and the fact that the author is a Master Gardener.

Thank goodness I actually read the book! It's awesome, and I'll probably be placing an order for my very own copy.

I have had John Jeavons's book, "How to Grow More Vegetables" for many years, even purchasing updated editions because I value his information on intensive growing methods. Cunningham's book is perhaps more 'user friendly', but has equally valuable information on companion planting and good gardening practices. Her focus seems to be on intensive planting (grids rather than rows) of seed beds and interplanting vegetables with each other, as well as flowers and herbs, to encourage beneficial insects and discourage others. Chapter 10, "Sally's top crops and companion-garden secrets" is particularly useful in summarizing this information.

The book is illustrated with the aforementioned line drawings but also has glorious full-color photos of what I call Fantasy Gardens. Not a weed in sight, no invading quack-grass (I wish!!) and everything is over-the-top healthy. I guess we need to see photos like that to give us inspiration and hope for our own efforts.

In summary, I recommend this book without reservation if you are in that gardening majority that likes to "tweek" your methodology in the hope of even greater success. Because, let's face it. Even if you get only bat-sized zucchini - pick more often! - and a few radishes and tomatoes, plus a bumper crop of parsley and basil... your garden is still a success. Could it stand to be improved? Surely. And Ms. Cunningham has some ideas for you.

Note: the green type kept me from giving it 5 stars. I don't care for colored type. Black is my preference ;-)

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