Northern & Central Midwest
Gardening at the Dragon's Gate
Wendy Johnson has a lyrical, meditative way of writing (she's been a Zen meditator for many years), and as you read the soft words in Gardening at the Dragon's Gate (Bantam Books, 2008, $25), you hardly realize how she has given you some hard core advice for gardening. She has a beautiful appreciation for the hard work of gardening, but also for the wild and uncultivated plant world. This is truly a delightful summer read.
Clever Gardening Technique
Keep Flea Beetles off Your Eggplants
Flea beetles a problem on your eggplants? You can plant a trap crop of Chinese cabbage to draw them off, but a good way to protect them almost completely is to use covers. Place a small perennial ring over the eggplant, and then fashion a sleeve out of a piece of floating row cover. You can sew or staple the sleeve together and then slip it over the cage. This will effectively keep out flea beetles. Even though eggplants are somewhat self-pollinating, it is still a good idea to remove the cover as soon as they begin to blossom.