Book Review

Small Fruits in the Home Garden

Edited by Robert E. Gough, Ph.D. and E. Barclay Poling, Ph.D.

Food Products Press, 10 Alice Street, Binghamton, NY 13904-1580. 1996. 272 pages. Hard cover $39.95. Paper bound $19.95.
(Price/availability info may have changed since original publication of review.)

Reviewed by Robert Chambers (7/1998)

Small fruits are a favorite for many backyard fruit growers because they fit into the landscape and meld into vegetable and flower gardens. They can also be the source of substantial quantities of fruits that are expensive in the grocery.

This book has an outstanding introductory chapter by Gough giving specific advice on many aspects of small-fruit growing and has six chapters on individual fruits: blackberries, blueberries, currants-gooseberries, grapes, raspberries and strawberries. The authors are connected with agricultural universities and mostly seem to be write like extension agents. However, these are selected experts and provide something a bit better than the usual extension publication, and of course a more complete discussion.

Actually extension advice in a field such as this is about the best there is. These are all plants that have been researched and in addition to their involvement in this the authors have evidently seen the results of many amateur and professional growers' efforts and the problems they get into. The discussion slips easily back and forth between the backyard situation and that of the small commercial grower who may have a few rows of fruit from which he sells produce to the self pickers, the neighbors, the nearby produce stand down the street.

The discussion covers location preferences of these plants, variety characteristics, and the many kinds of problems one runs into in cultivation. It does not have the typical textbook or reference-book approach. It does not have colored pictures, although it has line drawings where appropriate. It does not have an individual point of view as far as I can see.

The authors do not duck questions, however, and flatly tell the reader what to do -- do this, don't do that. I would recommend this as the first book to consult for someone who is considering growing one of these small fruits.


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