Book Review: “Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades” by Steve Solomon

picture-2      Steve Solomon has been a vegetable-growing guru since he began Oregon’s Territorial Seed Company. He was “green” when green meant either cash or the fourth color from the left in the box of 8. He wrote the original “Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades” in 1981. Even with the swift “unprinting” of most garden books, his book is still on the bookstore shelves. The sixth edition of Solomon’s classic was reprinted in 2007. It’s a compliment to have a second printing but it’s practically a miracle for a gardening book to get to the sixth printing.  

Vegetable Gardening West of the Cascades

Vegetable Gardening West of the Cascades

     With each new edition of  “Growing Vegetables” he manages to add critical new information. I guess another way to put it would be…he finds more to criticize. He has a “no baloney” way of approaching gardening. It’s nothing fancy, it’s about as far from “no maintenance” as you can get but the results are worth it. His new edition includes the usual vegetable garden chapters: Soil, Composting, Planning, Watering and Seeds, but don’t think the subjects have the usual explanations. Solomon is opinionated. If you follow his advice you WILL succeed. It’s sort of like having that curmudgeonly uncle teach you how to do something. It isn’t always fun but you do learn and you love him for teaching you.

      Vegetable gardening on our side of the mountains is unique. Growing vegetables in “the land of the green tomato” takes a lot of common sense and a few tricks. Solomon speaks from experience and his ideas and suggestions can be trusted. A garden book that has been popular for 26 years has to be good.

Available at The Garden Shop at Lakewold Gardens (253-224-2300),

 Article reprinted with permission, Premier Media Group, South Sound Magazine, Dirty Dan Column