A cheerful basic manual for botanical illiterates who dream of gloating over their own baby limas and mustard pickles, strawberry jam and artichoke hearts, on table or freezer shelf. Whether your garden is a grungy urban window sill full of jerry-rigged containers or a rich, loamy acreage, you can start with Marjorie Dietz' guide to the simplest facts of light, drainage, soil preparation, fertilizers (she skirts the issue of organic vs. chemical), and how to get the most from the least space (there are diagrams of sample plots). Section II, by Marie Roberson Hamm, explains how to preserve your treasures once you've grown them (or, for the ""black thumb"" contingent, bought them). Harem warns that a steam-pressure canner is the only method safe for all non-acidic foods. She discusses other basic equipment, the relative merits of cold-pack and hot-pack, and the detection of spoilage. (Jams, pickles, and home-frozen foods receive special sections of their own.) Section III, compiled by Witty from some two dozen distinguished contributors, gives more than 300 recipes for your fresh or preserved harvest--and we found not a clichÃ‰ in the bunch. There is spoonbread with whole-kernel corn, an intriguing rutabaga and apple pie, homemade French gherkins (cornichons), a savory mint chutney, a Dutch kale, potato, and sausage dish, a wonderful-looking basil jelly. . . . Meet you on the fire escape in half an hour, with the Burpee catalog.