Pros: Non-preachy, unpretentious and clear writing with excellent advice
Cons: Infrequent publication schedule, would prefer more targeted advice (edibles only, more zone-specific suggestions)
This is one of those very rare periodicals that functions exactly as it should: it isn't preachy, like a lot of magazines that espouse certain...philosophies (see especially some vegetarian publications...), it isn't overly complicated or involved, but it isn't condescending: it's just kindly informative and useful.
My sole objections are somewhat silly ones: I'd like a more specific Organic Gardening, and I'd like a localized Organic Gardening. At 'home' in Ottawa I managed to grow (quite organic) celery in plastic-lined milk crates in a sort of miniature skylight space accessible only by crawling through my kitchen and bathroom windows. And so forth. I had no idea what I was doing, but my entire hands (not just the thumbs, I mean) were green -- probably just thanks to having subconsciously absorbed how-tos about the local environment while growing up. Now I'm in a very dry and frequently scorching area of Southern California, and, well, celery is no longer on the menu, the faunae is unfamiliar, and I'm hovering between amazement that I can grow things like aloe like weeds, but even my weeds tend to die out in the heat. Anyway, Organic Gardening can feel like a bit of a slight for people not in a more temperate climate.
That's not an entirely fair criticism, since just about every friggin' gardening anything I read has the same problem, and Organic Gardening is really about as inclusive as it can be without going over the top: most notably (and this really is rare for American publications, honestly), they are aware of Canada!
The other irritation is the infrequent publication: I'm sure most organic gardeners hoard their copies like I do. The plus to this is that they're not repetitive, but it still seems silly to have a magazine about something that becomes so time-consuming an activity only show up once every two months. The market's definitely there for expansion, and I would also happily pay more for a thicker magazine.
Despite a rather obsessive devotion to compost and a few suggestions that won't make immediately sense to the novice, the most impressive thing about Organic Gardening is its ability to reach so large an audience. I learn enough to make the magazine worth every penny despite being relatively new to the mulching racket, but it's not simplistic. The advice is broad enough that even gardeners with relatively narrow focuses like myself can end up bookmarking several pages, and I continue to be impressed with the quality of the writing -- too many magazines nowadays are sent out to the world as typo-riddled amateur slush, and this one produces for genuinely good text.
Given that it's a good gardening magazine even if you don't stick to organic methods, I have to suggest that the slightly subversive among you should pick up a gift subscription for that ChemLawn-addled "lookit my beautiful yard!" bozo in your life. Like I said, they're not preachy, so it just might work...
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About the reviewer
K. Mennie (kmennie)
Oct 27, 2010
Nov 23, 2010 02:45 PM UTC
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Organic Gardening is one of America's most popular gardening magazines, providing hands-on expert advice for making your yard and garden the most beautiful and productive they can be -- all without the use of pesticides or other chemicals. Each monthly issue includes articles on topics like designing flowerbeds and vegetable gardens and making your lawn thrive. Whether natural gardening is your hobby or your livelihood, Organic Gardening is an essential guide.