I have a bit of an obsession with gardening books (along with cookbooks, sewing books, craft books, etc) and I’ve basically been keeping myself on a fairly short leash when it comes to purchasing new books because I don’t want things to get too out of control. But of course when I saw Epic Tomatoes available, I wasn’t able to resist. I had to buy it.
This year I am growing a record number of tomatoes in my garden (not like a world record, but a personal record). I think I am at about 30 varieties. I have a small yard and that amount of tomatoes is insane – we’re not talking 30 plants though, that amount will actually be higher because I’m growing multiples of some varieties. Let’s guess 45 tomato plants. I have self-control issues when it comes to growing tomatoes. I want to grow all of the tomatoes.
Anyway, my love for tomato growing was definitely the deciding factor in purchasing Epic Tomatoes. The author, Craig LeHoullier is a tomato adviser for Seed Savers Exchange, which is one of my go-to companies for purchasing seeds for growing in my own garden. He has been growing tomatoes for many years and his love and knowledge of tomatoes definitely comes through on every page of this book. I didn’t think it was possible for me to get any more excited about growing tomatoes, but somehow it happened when I was reading through this book. I can’t wait.
First of all, the book itself is lovely. The photography is eye appealing, the layout is user friendly, I love the old illustrations featured – it is clear that a lot of effort went in to making this book beautiful.
I think my favorite part of the book is that it is most appealing to a younger, modern gardener – but at the same time providing tons of information that even a seasoned tomato grower would find useful. I don’t consider myself an expert tomato grower by any means, but I am a tomato growing enthusiastic with a few years of tomato growing experience under my belt and I learned a ton from this book. I find that a lot of books on tomatoes, or even gardening in general, are not really that exciting to look at (some exceptions of course) – mostly standard text with a few mediocre photos thrown in. What can I say? I am the kind of person that judges a book based on appearances, I like lots of photos and pretty typography!
I thought I would touch on a few other things I really enjoyed about the book:
– The book focuses on heirloom, non-hybrid tomatoes, which is something that I am passionate about. Up until a few years ago, I believed I was limited to the tomato varieties available either as seeds or small plants from the garden centre and I didn’t even know this whole other world of tomatoes existed. Over the past few years, I’ve been purchasing a few tomato seeds here and there from smaller companies specializing in rare and heirloom varieties, but this past winter I spent lots of time doing tons of research further in to heirloom tomato varieties, so reading about so many more in this book was both good timing and very interesting. I also love love love reading about the history of certain varieties which was something that was discussed a bit in this book.
– There is a list of 250 recommended varieties in this book. 250! And what I love the most is that he includes a ton of dwarf varieties I haven’t even heard of (I’m obsessed with the dwarfs right now as they are ideal for my smaller gardening space). I’ve already started a list of seeds to try and find for 2016 (Apparently I need more space just for tomatoes…maybe it’s time I bought that farm…)
– The book includes a list of recommended seed suppliers. Thank you! I’ve heard of most of the suppliers on this list through my research this last winter (and even ordered seeds from a few of them), but this is such a valuable resource for a newer gardener who wants to venture outside of the small selection available at garden centres.
– Recipes!! There are a few of these in the book and everyone knows how much I love cooking.
– Seed saving techniques. I actually just started my own tomato seed saving last year but really have no idea what I’m doing so this piece will be a good reference for me this next year. I never thought much about seed saving up until I started growing some of the rare varieties and now I understand the importance.
– He talks about breeding your own tomatoes and creating your very own tomato! I think this might be something I really want to try and I didn’t actually realize how easy it could be. Blue dwarf variety?! I think so. What would I name it?!!
I think it is obvious by my words that I am totally over the moon in love with this book. And I really can’t believe how excited I am for growing tomatoes this year. Just a couple of weeks and I’ll be starting my own little babies inside! If you are a tomato grower, I would highly recommend this book, you will not be disappointed.
Note: I am in no way affiliated with the author or publisher or this book, nor am I compensated for my words above. All thoughts, recommendations, and opinions are my own.
Epic Tomatoes purchased on amazon.ca.