Monday, September 24, 2018

Review: Dig In! by Kari Cornell and Jennifer S. Larson

Logan (age 7) has turned into quite the gardener. We were finally able to plant a vegetable garden this year, and he wakes up every morning to go out with Daddy to water it. He carefully picks out all the snails and roly-polies that want to eat the pumpkin leaves and green bean stalks.

For his birthday, we decided to get him an indoor garden and grow light so he can keep gardening all year long. We have found starting from seeds a bit tricky, but with this book I think I have the solution!


Grow your own fruits and vegetables from nothing but kitchen scraps! Rather than throwing away leftovers from food in your kitchen, you can use them to grow more. Learn how to turn a single sweet potato into a pot full of them. Grow a salad from the end bit of lettuce and a lemon tree from a single seed. Several of these projects require nothing more than a jar, a windowsill, and a few pieces of food that would otherwise end up in the trash or compost. Step-by-step drawings and photographs make it easy to follow along, and fun recipes will help you enjoy the fruits of your labor.

We definitely have kitchen scraps, and the kids have already noticed things sprouting from the compost heap.

I have re-grown green onions and potatoes among other things, but I have never tried romaine lettuce from stubs or pineapples from the crown. Simple step-by-step directions with LOTS of photo illustrations will soon have you digging through your trash! The instructions are written in a conversational style, and are easily accessible to anyone old enough to read them.

Beyond giving new life to your kitchen scraps, this is just a great introduction for new gardeners. The opening chapter discusses planting zones, pH and pollination along with a plant's general needs of sunlight and water. Towards the end we learn things like making seedling pots out of newspapers. Lots of recycling going on here! Each section also includes a recipe to use when you have finished (re)growing your plants (lemongrass ice cream, anyone?) All these added details really help set this book apart from other kitchen gardening books I have seen.

Want to know what I like best about this book, though? While the instructions do say to ask for adult help, the pictures show the kids wielding the knives. THANK-YOU!!! I am a firm believer in teaching kids to use tools of all sorts at an early age, so they grow up knowing how to handle them responsibly. If your 8-year-old can't cut a lemon, you are probably going to be cooking for him when he is 20. Or, visiting him in the ER when he cuts his fingertip off the first time he tries it himself.

Mini soapbox aside, I am very excited to be adding this to our collection at the library, and then bringing it home to explore!

***For a seasonal approach to gardening, check out Cornell and Larson's earlier title, The Nitty Gritty Gardening Book.

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