Editorial Reviews of “Decoding Gardening Advice”

“In ‘Decoding Gardening Advice: The Science Behind the 100 Most Common Recommendations’ ($16.95; Timber Press), Jeff Gillman and Meleah Maynard declare a friendly war on some of the common garden lore that has led generations of gardeners astray for decades, if not centuries. Filled with simplified explanations based on current science, this slim, precisely organized handbook is good for a cover-to-cover read or as a handy reference guide to dip into as needed. Thankfully, Gillman and Maynard are not dogmatists: The writing is blunt and pithy, and the eight chapters – which cover topics such as soil, mulch, edibles and lawns – cluster common gardening practices into three lists: good, debatable and plain wrong. The emphasis is on why, rather than how, but the authors consistently offer thoughtful alternative solutions to practices they slam.” —San Francisco Chronicle. January 2012


“Helpful for novice and experienced gardeners alike, the practical advice here is backed up with interesting popular science and delivered in an engaging format.” —Jenny Contakos Library Journal


“A well-researched, indispensable resource that belongs on every gardening shelf.” —Booklist


“Before laying spade to the first row of soil or planting that first bulb, most gardeners hear plenty of advice—wanted or not—from a variety of sources. As horticulturist Gillman and master gardener Maynard point out in this fun-to-read guide, such words of gardening wisdom can tender good advice, debatable advice, or advice that’s just wrong. Covering subjects ranging from soil and water to lawn care, they explain each piece of advice before going into what will happen if you follow it; they then explain how to do each practice under discussion and offer their bottom-line opinion or recommendation (“the real dirt”) on the gardening practice. For example, the age-old counsel to water deeply and infrequently to encourage good root systems is good advice because such a method of watering allows plants to establish the deep, healthy root systems they need. Conversely, the authors point out that the advice to provide plenty of water to a lawn, especially in the heat of the summer, is just plain wrong, for overwatering plants causes their roots to suffocate. Although plenty of gardeners are likely to disagree with the authors’ advice, Gillman and Maynard’s entertaining guide to the scientific reasons behind each practice makes this a valuable guide for a gardener to have on the shelf next to the seed catalogues.” —Publisher’s Weekly, November 2011

“[B]ogus information spreads like wildfire, especially with the advent of the internet. This handy book gives you the straight scoop on what’s good, what’s bad and what’s iffy in the world of gardening.” —Renee Struthers-Hogge, The East Oregonian
“Gillman’s book is full of interesting and scientifically backed research. He’s a welcome voice of reason amid a growing babble of self-appointed, uninformed gardening ‘experts.’” —Susan Banks, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


“Whether you agree or not, the authors’ recommendations and conclusions are explained and summarized. This is one smart, well-organized book.” —Virginia A. Smith, Philadelphia Inquirer


“This is a fascinating, entertaining and useful book, written in a format that makes for quick reference.” —Mary-Liz Shaw, The Journal-Sentinel




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