Not many gardening books are as adorably friendly as 101 Organic Gardening Hacks, Eco-Friendly Solutions to Improve Any Garden, but then you likely have never encountered a gardener like Shawna Coronado either. Shawna brings an infectious energy to everything she does, whether it’s through her online presence on social media, radio, television, videos or her other books such as Grow a Living Wall or her guides to gardening in Indiana and Illinois.
This book is filled, front to back with charming and colorful graphics that are eye-catching without being childish, colorful but not cartoonish. They add just the right amount of lightness to make this book feel fun while you’re learning something new.
The format for this book (from here we’ll use the acronym “101 OGH’s” for short) makes it easy to use with sections each named for a different group of “hacks”. If you’re not sure what a “hack” is, it’s simply a slang term for a shortcut or quick solution to anything from a recipe to computer problem. The book starts out with “Dirty Rotten Hacks” aimed at giving you easy to follow tips on all things soil, and compost. Throughout 101 OGH’s other sections we get ideas on a wide variety of topics including seed starting, landscaping and even outdoor lifestyle.
One of my favorite topics was hack number 25 titled “Stay Away From Toxic Tools” on page 40. Citing research from the internationally recognized Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Shawna’s clearly well-researched book explains the recent problems with garden hoses containing phthalates, BPA, lead, tin and more. 101 OGH’s makes an excellent case for going the extra mile to get drinking water safe garden hoses.
Hack number 92 is one that speaks in particular to my penchant for designing with foliage, “Plant Foliage for Shade Color” on page 143. You will find well thought out options for plant choices, both traditional and tropical that are colorful for shade as well as those that thrive in tough conditions such as limited soil and dense roots under trees. Even going so far as to mention getting a soil test if necessary and consulting an arborist before digging if the safety of valuable tree roots is concerning.
Full of fun photos many from Shawna’s very own garden, 101 OGH’s is user-friendly for beginning gardeners but full of great tips and reminders for experienced gardeners as well.
It would make a smart gift for the organic gardener in your life!