Wisconsin Historical Society Press
Garden Wisdom: Lessons Learned from 60 Years of Gardening
By Jerry Apps, with Photos by Steve Apps and Recipes by Ruth Apps
200 pages, 66 color and b/w photos, 7 x 9"; E-book now availableBuy
Gardening has always been a group endeavor for the Apps family. In "Garden Wisdom," readers will learn gardening basics along with Jerry's grandchildren as they become a new generation of gardeners. They'll devour Ruth's recipes for preparing and preserving fresh garden veggies - from refrigerator pickles to rutabaga pudding. And they'll savor son Steve's beautiful color photographs, capturing the bounty of the family garden throughout the growing season.
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Jerry Apps has been a rural historian and environmental writer for more than forty years. He has published books on many rural topics, including "Every Farm Tells a Story," "Living a Country Year," "Horse-Drawn Days," "Barns of Wisconsin," and "Old Farm." He is a former county extension agent and professor at the University of Wisconsin College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and a lifelong vegetable gardener.
As chief photographer for the "Wisconsin State Journal," Steve Apps has covered a wide range of assignments, including the Green Bay Packers and University of Wisconsin–Madison sports. In 2008 he received the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Dave Boss Award of Excellence; his photo "First Down" was selected Photograph of the Year for 2007. In his time off Steve loves to travel the state documenting Wisconsin and all its beauty.
Ruth Apps has a degree in home economics education from the University of Wisconsin–Stout. She has worked for the University of Wisconsin as a county home economics agent and for Madison Area Technical College. Ruth has canned, frozen, and otherwise prepared garden produce since she and Jerry were married. She makes pumpkin pie from real pumpkins.Check out Jerry Apps' website at: www.jerryapps.com
Winner, Midwest Independent Publishers Association Midwest Books Awards (Nature)
"Whether sharing boyhood memories, the times he spent gardening with his children and grandchildren, or his knowledge of growing vegetables and fruits, Apps combines memoir, useful information, and gardening philosophy with warmth and humor." —"Library Journal"
"Those who have also grown to love the slow rhythms and quiet satisfactions of growing one's own food will enjoy the company of his recollections. The collection is filled with humorous anecdotes and quiet observations of the cycle of life in the humble vegetable patch—plus an unexpected recipe for sorghum cookies. The pleasures he discovers in the garden come through on each page." —"Publishers Weekly"
"Jerry Apps has tapped into the wisdom of five generations of family—from his grandparents to his grandchildren—to create a richly personal and practical guide to growing, storing, and using foodstuffs in the Badger State. This is a wonderful book for all Wisconsin gardeners." —Jerry Minnich, author of "The Wisconsin Garden Guide" and "The Rodale Book of Composting"
"Jerry Apps sets the stage and draws readers in for a crop-by-crop, season-by-season saga as old as home vegetable gardening itself. He weaves the tale using the perfect balance of experience, folklore, and science. The UW Extension background of this husband and wife team lends added credibility to their gardening methods and recipes alike. In the end you feel more a part of the society of gardeners everywhere and a little bit a part of the Apps family." —Sharon Morrisey, UW Extension Consumer Horticulture Agent and cohost of FOX6-TV’s Wake-up News gardening segments
This review appeared in "ForeWord" Reviews newsletter "ForeWord This Week" on February 21, 2012.
Jerry Apps grew up with gardening parents, has planted a garden nearly every year of his life, and his children have developed a love for the earthly experience as well. In "Garden Wisdom" he shares his plentiful knowledge of the craft. In the first section, "Gardening Roots," Apps reflects on his own early experiences, in "Planning and Planting" he offers advice on everything from where, when, and what to plant to harvesting and keeping out the critters, and in "Enjoying the Harvest" he provides unique recipes he has created from his own crop, such as rhubarb cream pie, orange zucchini cake, and tomoto-stuffed peppers. For anyone wishing to expand their knowledge of harvesting vegetables and fruit or for those looking to hone their green thumb, "Garden Wisdom" details the simple joys of home gardening.
Book Feature in Booklist
This review by Carol Haggas appeared in Booklist on December 6, 2011.
Want to know how to transplant tomatoes, hoe a row of rutabaga, or put up a peck of pickled peppers? There's an Apps for that! Having spent a lifetime growing all manner of vegetables at various farms and homesteads across his native Wisconsin, Apps has accumulated a wealth of practical information based on personal experience that can benefit vegetable gardeners everywhere. Although it includes helpful chapters on planning, planting, and even preserving a hearty vegetable harvest, this is less of a traditional how-to gardening manual and more of a treasured garden memoir, as Apps fondly recalls halcyon days spent gardening beside self-taught grandparents and parents and extols the rewards of sharing this handed-down wisdom with his own children and grandchildren. Along with engaging tidbits of historical lore about everything from brussels sprouts to zucchini, Apps shares his wife Ruth's recipes for delectable treats such as Rhubarb Cream Pie and Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake. As informative as it is entertaining, Apps' heartfelt chronicle transforms the standard gardening guidebook into a deeply personal appreciation for nature’s bounty.
Book Feature in Publishers Weekly
This book review appeared in Publishers Weekly on December 19, 2011.
Rural historian Apps ("Barns of Wisconsin") continues his chronicling of rural life with a folksy memoir of his six decades of vegetable gardening. The material is arranged to follow the growing season and includes some growing tips and advice on preserving and cooking the garden's bounty, but it is not a methodical how-to guide for the novice. For him, the garden is a place of "mystery, awe, anticipation, patience, surprise, disappointment, and elation." The terrain will be familiar to readers of gardening memoirs, but those who have also grown to love the slow rhythms and quiet satisfactions of growing one’s own food will enjoy the company of his recollections. The collection is filled with humorous anecdotes and quiet observations of the cycle of life in the humble vegetable patch - plus an unexpected recipe for sorghum cookies. The pleasures he discovers in the garden come through on each page.
Book Feature in the Library Journal
This book feature by Sue O'Brien appeared on December 16, 2011.
Jerry Apps (emeritus, Coll. of Agricultural & Life Sciences, Univ.of Wisconsin-Madison; Every Farm Tells a Story) has gardened for 60 years, both in the country and in town. Here he intertwines his reminiscences of growing up on a Wisconsin farm with practical information on growing vegetables and some fruits. He covers starting a vegetable garden, dealing with pests, growing specific vegetables and fruits, harvesting the produce, and eating and preserving the harvest. The book includes basic, easy-to-follow garden and fruit recipes from his wife, Ruth, and their son Steve's (chief photographer, Wisconsin State Journal) images. Whether sharing boyhood memories, the times he spent gardening with his children and grandchildren, or his knowledge of growing vegetables and fruits, Apps combines memoir, useful information, and gardening philosophy with warmth and humor.
Verdict This is an enjoyable book that will be savored by vegetable gardeners with their own memories. Beginning gardeners in need of the complete basics will be better served by a full guide such as Edward C. Smith’s tenth-anniversary edition of "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible."