The Creative Vegetable Gardener

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden Book

The Creative Vegetable GardenerHooray! My new garden book is ready for a February release date. Published by Ten Speed Press, this classic small-space gardening best seller is revised for a new generation of gardeners. If you’ve enjoyed my blogs, now you can find all the gardening information in one book.

To accommodate today’s lifestyles, a garden needs to fit into an extremely tiny plot, take as little time as possible to maintain, require a minimum amount of water, and still produce prolifically. That’s exactly what a postage stamp garden does. Postage stamp gardens can be as small as 4 by 4 feet, and after initial soil preparation, they require very little extra work to grow a tremendous amount of vegetables – for instance, a 5-by-5-foot bed will produce a minimum of 200 pounds of vegetables.

When it was first published 40 years ago, the techniques in The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden were ground breaking. Now, in this fully revised and updated edition, I include new information on the variety of heirloom vegetables available today and how to grow them simply, easily and organically. Four decades on, this proven approach continues to be an invaluable resource for gardeners who wish to weed, water and work a whole lot less, yet produce so much more.

Even though we had 10 acres to grow whatever we wanted, a series of postage stamp gardens were much more practical. In California where summer water can be a concern, my gardens flourished with little water and a drip system. Eventually I grew themed garden beds to accommodate our eating habits. My husband loved Italian cuisine, I loved Mexican. I could garden all year-round. During the winter, my Asian garden and soup garden gave me just what I needed. Springtime meant planting early salad greens peas, and other quick-growing cool crops. Our summer heat meant tons of tomatoes for both our Italian meals and Mexican meals. Not only did I plant our favorite varieties, but I tried a lot of new vegetables, some quickly became a staple in our garden.

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden book can be pre-ordered from Barnes & Noble, Google books, Amazon, IndieBound, or iBooks. It will be in all bookstores by late February.

Enjoy the gardening experience.
Karen Newcomb

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Gardern Book

Postage Stamp Vegetable Gardening: the website for gardening instruction, seed sources, and much more.

How Colorful Vegetables Benefit Our Health

The Creative Vegetable GardenerIt doesn’t surprise me to learn there are medical benefits when it comes to the color of our vegetables. I love color in the food I prepare for my family and friends. My summer salads are always vibrant with different colored tomatoes, cucumbers, grated carrots and zucchini, sliced olives, colored bell peppers, grapes and anything else that’s appealing both for taste and the eyes. All nestled on a bed of different lettuces each with its own texture. During winter months I mix up coleslaw with green and red cabbages, add a bit of apple and/or mandarins. I usually buy a bottle of coleslaw dressing, but would love a good recipe from scratch.

Yet, we’ve always heard there’s no real healthy benefit to salads. Wrong.

colorful vegetables | iStockphoto.com/pilipphoto 

Photo: iStockphoto.com/pilipphoto

Let’s talk about the power of color in vegetables and fruits.

Red color is said to promote heart health, lower cancer risks, and protects against memory loss. I’m beginning to think I need more red veggies in my diet. One can only claim a “senior moment” just so many times.

What’s red in the veggie kingdom? Beets, strawberries, red bell pepper, cranberries, tomatoes, radishes, raspberries, cherries, blood oranges, pomegranates, red grapefruit, red potatoes and watermelon.

Orange and Yellow colored vegetables are said to support the immune system and vision health, reduce cancer risk, promote collagen formation and healthy joints.

Select from carrots, yellow peppers, cantaloupe, pumpkin, corn, sweet potatoes, oranges, mangoes, peaches, apricots, and yellow squash.

Green color is said to promote vision health, lower blood pressure, normalize digestion time, boost immune system, and reduce cancer risk.

Green vegetables to choose from are dark lettuce, kiwifruit, avocadoes, cucumbers, celery, honeydew, green beans, leeks, okra, broccoli, and asparagus.

Blue and Purple is said to increase memory function, lower LDL cholesterol, improve urinary tract health, reduce cancer risk, and encourage healthful aging.  

Blue and Purple fruits and vegetables include purple cabbage, purple grapes, blackberries, blueberries, figs, plums, eggplant and raisins.

There are, of course, many other fruits and vegetables that fit in these color categories, but this list is a place to start your healthier eating habits. If your family hates anything green, as most kids seem to do, try mixing a small amount of a green veggie into other colors. Of course you might find a pile of little green bits on the floor beside the dinner table. My grandson hates anything green, except for peas. I think it’s because he’s a vegetarian and has had too many green vegetables. As for me, I am not a vegetarian, but I don’t particularly care for certain green veggies either. However, I now have an appreciation for the power of that color in our health management and will try to include it more in our meals.

When you’re planning your garden next year you might keep in mind the health benefits of color.

Visit Karen's website for more information on creative gardening.