The Essential GreenSmoothieGirl Library . . . last part

For those wanting to grow a garden (the #1 way to save money eating a plant-based diet), these are my “bibles”–click on the link if you want to pick it up at Amazon:


Marian Morash’s The Victory Garden Cookbook is the definitive garden how-to, with hundreds of recipes on how to use each of those garden vegetables–I use this recipe book constantly, except when someone borrows it, falls in love with it, and doesn’t return it!



Eliot Coleman’s Four Seasons Harvest was a breakthrough for me, showing how to grow a winter garden even outdoors in a cold climate



Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening has taken the home gardening world by storm.   That’s because this is the very best way to grow a garden, maximizing space and minimizing work.

gardening does so much more than provide food

Is there anything better than garden tomatoes?   Twenty years ago, we used to make my sister-in-law, when she was a college student, sing a John Denver song before we gave her any of our garden tomatoes: “Only two things that money can’t buy, and that’s true love and home-grown tomatoes!”

Yesterday, Apr. 5, I planted 1 of my 10 square-foot boxes (this particular box is 5′ x 4′; some others are 6′ x 4′).   In Utah, it’s still cold, nothing’s turning green yet, and we’re 4 weeks off from the date we plan on the last spring freeze.   I describe nutritional properties of, and advocate for planting, quite a few crops in the next chapter of 12 Steps to Whole Foods: Planting a Garden and Using Everything In It.   Of those, you can plant  3 crops  right now:   CABBAGE SEEDLINGS, and LETTUCE and SPINACH from seeds.   That’s what we did yesterday.

Planting a garden is a critically important part of getting an inexpensive, chemical-minimized, disease-preventing, naturally weight-controlling, plant-based diet.   (12 Steppers, although I release this on May 1, if you want to plant now, write me for the draft in its current form.)

Square-foot gardening (the book is by Mel Bartholomew) gets more produce per foot than any other method: 1 cabbage plant per foot, 4 heads of lettuce per foot, 9 spinach plants per foot, 16 beets or onions per foot.   You can even build a grow box on a concrete patio (which I did on the TV show I went on).    

Next week, if you’re in a cold zone like us with a May 1 last-frost date, you can plant onion sets, radishes, beets, and chard.   planting-april-08-35.jpg

Involve your kids so they know where food comes from and so they have a sense of contribution to the meals that will result some weeks or months from now.   I believe they also learn about the law of the harvest (you reap what you sow), and delay of gratification (work now for a reward later)—concepts that far too few modern children understand in the industrialized age of fast food and credit cards.   A sound understanding of these principles lead to children who make better dietary choices, children who obtain education, and children who will teach your grandchildren self-sufficiency someday.


My younger children (10 and 7) love working with me in the garden.   This is Mary Elizabeth (10) learning to plant cabbage and spinach: