In this companion to The Nitty Gritty Gardening Book (2015), Cornell offers 12 gardening projects for preteens, focusing here on the regenerative power of plants and their parts.
An introduction provides garden basics: the needs of plants, the role of pH, U.S. plant hardiness zones, and pollination. The four subsequent chapters are organized by type of propagation: sprouts from root ends; roots from cuttings; fostering growth from tubers, bulbs, and rhizomes; and planting saved seeds. Projects include sprouting romaine lettuce leaves, rooting herb cuttings, planting a ginger rhizome, and starting pepper and pumpkin plants from saved seeds. Ten nicely chosen (and delicious-sounding) recipes incorporate project ingredients—though most will require additional, store-bought items. Attractive photographs and clear drawings highlight step-by-step processes and the often modest growth of the propagated plants. (Cornell encourages patience; many projects require several weeks of monitoring.) A few missteps affect the overall package. State boundaries are difficult to discern on the hardiness map. While recommending organic produce (which is free of chemicals that inhibit sprouting), Cornell omits any discussion of hybrids, which, if propagated from seed, won’t likely resemble the parent. Recipes lack yields and sometimes omit cautions regarding knife use.
Quibbles aside, this engaging volume’s strength—homing in on plants’ specific regenerative properties—should spark STEM projects and home gardening fun, whether in a backyard or on an apartment windowsill. (glossary, print and web resources, supply sources, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)