Web Site Name

eeh blah doogie doogie

Starter Vegetable Gardens

A person is fortunate indeed when their personal and professional goals come together, which is exactly what happened with my new baby, Starter Vegetable Gardens (Storey Publishing, 2010).


My young adult daughter, Madison, thinks garden-fresh organic food is great, but she's never really grown a garden on her own. So, Starter Vegetable Gardens is for Madison and her peeps on a personal level.


Professionally, I was challenged to condense and distill 30 years of experience as a vegetable gardener and garden writer into a practical guide for beginners. It worked! The book makes it possible for anyone to garden successfully, their very first season, without having to memorize an encyclopedia of horticultural information.

How The Book Came to Be

The good people at Storey Publishing and I kick ideas around a lot, and we began discussing a vegetable gardening book in 2007. That's also when I moved to a much larger garden, and a big garden will get any gardener in high gear in a hurry. We signed a contract for a book with the operating title of "Small Beds, Big Flavors." My original computer files are named "No-Fail Organic Food Garden."


I got good and stuck when I began writing, with several bad starts and so many sketches that they floated around my office like indoor kites on breezy days. I couldn't nail down a concept, so finally I said fine, I'll just start showing people how to garden. From then on, the work began to flow.


pole filet beans
Pole filet beans

Fern Cracks the Whip

The manuscript is in, and everyone is happy. We still don't have a title but we have a book with a clear purpose. In short order, Storey brings in Fern Bradley as project editor, which is the best/worst thing that could have happened.

Besides being a gifted contradance caller, Fern is a long-term garden goddess AND she's a crack editor who challenged me hundreds of times. As we refined the book together (this takes weeks and weeks), "Would a newbie understand this?" became a familiar question. Most of the time Fern was right, so I rewrote.


And so, dear reader, when you discover passages that finally make something clear to you that you've been struggling with for a while, you can thank my taskmaster, Fern Bradley.

"Growing at least some of your own food will change your life for the better."

Barbara Pleasant


This book belongs in every food gardener's library. Barbara Pleasant knows what beginning gardeners need to know (and not know). And for advanced gardeners, there are plenty of tips based on the latest research."

Cheryl Long, Editor in Chief

Mother Earth News


"What a fabulous book! Like good garden advice that's been handed down for generations, this book is packed with options and written by a real gardener with deep awareness and knowledge of what it takes to make a garden."

Rosalind Creasy, Author

Edible Landscaping

snow pea blossoms
Snow pea blossoms

More Reviews

are available at 

Starter Vegetable Gardens.com.