Monday Morning Check-In: Garden Season.

Means slow reading season.  With a late winter transitioning into an instant summer in Eastern Iowa we are all suddenly behind schedule as far as planting goes.  The farmers are in the fields and on the roads like crazy as they struggle to get their corn and soybeans in (not that China is going to buy them…)  Like our larger “gardens” around us, our small plot has remained dormant until this weekend when I spent several hours getting sunburnt and achy cleaning the debris so hubby could till.   We managed to till and even get the potatoes, that should have been planted last month, in the ground.  The thing is our last snow was two weeks ago so it wasn’t like we could do anything until now.  It will be alright though.  Like the farmers, it will all get planted and be fine.  I need to run to town and pick out the plants and get them in the ground.  I might do that today or on Thursday.  Depends how this morning goes because I also need to mow for the first time.  The good part of mowing is I can listen to an audiobook while riding around the yard.  I have Bluetooth headphones this year which should solve my snagging on young trees and bushes problem.  I will try to keep up with the reading but I can’t make any promises this month as all of these chores need to get done.  Have a great week everyone and happy reading.


Monday Morning Question: Besides reading?


Good Monday morning everyone,  I hope you all had a great weekend and got in more reading than I.  Saturday was spent at work with the afternoon in the cities on the weekly shopping trip, where I made a stop at one of their libraries and opened yet another account.  I’m now the proud  holder of four library cards!  My newest library is part of a major library system in the area, so it means I can now check out at multiple libraries and have access to almost anything I want to read.  I’m excited and can’t wait till I have more time to explore what they have in the stacks.  Sunday was another quick trip to a different town as my husband had a bit of cabin fever and wanted to get out of the house.  We hit a local Goodwill and Wal-Mart where I went a little crazy with the discounted bulbs and spent the rest of my day planting 50 new lilies.  Hello my name is Amy and I cannot pass up cheap plants.  This got me thinking about my other hobbies and I thought I would ask you all:

What other hobbies and/or past times do you have besides reading?

So share in the comments, or better yet write-up your own blog post with pictures and leave the link in the comments so everyone can see what passions you have beyond books!

Now time for me to share, or rather over-share/brag , what I enjoy doing when I’m not lost in my current read.

Around Home

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We also love to travel!

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Well I thought that might be a fun way to get to know me better and see what takes up my time when I’m not reading.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures and I would love to see posts about what else you are passionate about besides reading!

The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting by Josie Jeffery – 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Click on cover to visit book’s Goodreads page.  Blogging for books also requested I share the following links with you.

Press Release More info at Random House,  Author Info at Random House.

Book Synopsis:

The mix & match guide to companion planting Why sow seeds that arent happy sharing a bed when you can plan a harmonious garden instead? With its ingenious split-page, mix and match system, Good Companions offers an immediate guide to the friends and foes of the gardening world, ensuring you have all the tools you need to grow your most successful crop yet! How does companion planting work? Well, take just one well-known example squash, sweetcorn and beans. Together these three make a happy family: squash will shelter the beans roots, which in their turn will add beneficial nitrogen to the trios soil, while the strong-growing sweetcorn will support the beans as they grow. And there are dozens of other groups that are equally good for one another just flip the pages and match up the easy colour coding to plant up the happiest plot you can imagine.

My Review:

I wish I had this book for review about a month earlier.  I received it in the mail just after we got all the plants in the ground this year for our large garden.  My husband and I enjoy gardening and when I saw this book available for review I knew I had to request it.  We are always looking for new ideas, plants, and tools for our hobby.  I had high hopes for the information within these pages for new ways to make our harvest even more bountiful.

The set up of the book is kind of different.  The first third is full of interesting history on companion gardening and useful information on types of planting, soil, choosing plants, plant health and other gardening related stuff.  I learned quite a bit and the book brought up ideas I hadn’t thought of before; for example how the moon/lunar cycle might affect the plants in your garden.  The first section also includes a helpful chart and instructions as to how to use the last 2/3 of the book.  My only complaint on this set up is that it would have been nice if this information was closer to the second section instead of the beginning.  Would have been a little more convenient, fewer pages to flip back through when it comes to using part two.

The largest section of the book is divided up into flip cards consisting of plants.  There are three different tabs, the middle one is considered ‘main’ crop, top tab is of plants that support a main crop above ground, and bottom tab is for plants that help a main crop below the soil.  The tabs have little colored dots representing different benefits for example; deters pests, improves flavor, soil improves, suppresses weeds, etc.  You pick a main crop and then flip the top and bottom tabs to find other plants that match up the most number of ‘dots’ and once you find good matches you have three plants that will be good companions.  It sounds complicated but it really isn’t, but like I said it would have been nice to have the key for the dots closer to the plant section.

The information on each plant is pretty basic and minimal, but that is not a big deal,  the point of the book is not detailed growing instructions for each plant, it is to figure out which plants will grow best with each other.  The author is nice to point out which plants will do especially well together and why, for example leeks and carrots are a good pairing.  She also makes note of plants that should not be paired up like cabbage and rue.  One other small complaint I had is it would have been nice to have a few more plants listed.  I noticed that no vining plants were mentioned, perhaps it is the nature of the plant I’m not sure, but I have problems with my squash and melons each year and was looking for some good plants to go with them to help deter pests.

Bottom line this is an interesting read for any gardener with some good tips and a handy system to find companion plants.  I look forward to using it to plan next year’s garden and am delighted to have it for my home library!


Playing in the Dirt

Planting 47 more of these beauties today. Picked last year.

Happy Saturday everyone.  I haven’t checked in for a few days,  reading non-fiction always slows me down…alright I’ve been playing with the birds too.  I went crazy at the garden stores yesterday and have a ton of plants to get in the ground, so today I will be playing in the dirt and moving manure.  Hopefully my husband will then fire up the tiller and we can get this garden started!    With all these plans to be outside I am feeling a bit guilty that my reading time is going to take a hit this week.  So I’m going to take the advice from one of my followers and give an audio book a go.  Of course now I need to figure how to download it, put it on my MP3 player and then find it on said player.  I’ll figure it out, after all I put all the music on it.

Anyway, I’ve picked and downloaded two titles, in case one of them doesn’t appeal to me. I’ll let you find out which one I pick or stick with when I write the review.  I’ll also let you know what I think of listening to a book rather then reading it.  Have a great weekend, I hope it is sunny and warm where you are. I picked(as always click on the picture to visit book’s Goodread page):

The Golem and the Jinni           Notes from the Internet Apocalypse


Well after several hours and much yelling at the dog to get out of the way as I hunted for different devises and their damn cords… I have about given up on listening to a damn audio book.  My selection Notes from the Internet Apocalypse is only available in a wav file, so I have replaced it with the following choice.  I swear this is more trouble than it is worth.  If I had just gone with music I could have had all the chores done by now.

InterWorld (Interworld, #1)