Murphy's gardening calendar begins with January and goes through October, but it might just as well be read in November or December, when gardening is a gleam in the eye and there is time for leisurely contemplation. Down-to-business gardeners seeking detailed advice or look-it-up answers would do better with a more everyday sort of guide. Murphy ignores all pests except snails, for example, though she discourses on several garden helpers--bees, worms, toads, ladybugs, and praying mantises. For Murphy, gardening is not just a satisfying way to get fresh vegetables; it's a link with primitive peoples, a part of nature's ""circles""; a trigger for personal rumination (on having patience, on the color green), an inspiration for modest conceits. (""A poem is like a tomato. . . . "") And so her journal is a casual mix of folk tales, mini-essays, historical lore, botany, simple projects, and recipes. (Even these last are of a peripheral nature, dealing with herb teas and snacks and an out-of-place dried onion soup mix dip, but no real meal-type vegetable dishes.) Along with this she manages to throw in some information on mulching and composting. It has its charms--mainly for young readers with a share of patience and a musing turn of mind, who are so fascinated with gardening they could sit and think about it all day.