Book review: What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden?

What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden? 100% Organic Solutions for All Your Vegetables, from Artichokes to Zucchini by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth (2011, Timber Press, Portland)

Want to know why your tomatoes have weird pink spores on them?  Or what is causing the veins on the underside of the leaves of your potatoes to suddenly turn purple?  This book can tell you those things – as well as how to troubleshoot them using organic controls.

Categorized by soil-, light-, temperature- and water-related problems, What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden? is a catalogue of pestilence and disease, with precise lists of symptoms to aid in quick diagnosis.  Excellent, full-colour photos accompany assist in the I.D. (if you’re squeamish about bugs or bacteria, don’t look at this book while you’re eating!). Every veggie family has its own problem solving guide, which includes organic solutions to get your garden back up and producing again.  Detailed sowing and cultural practices are also given for each plant family, using the principles of Integrated Pest (Plant) Management.  The focus is on providing the optimal “leg up” for your vegetable garden so that the chance of infection from garden pests is reduced…but should problems arise despite your efforts, you’ll be armed with the proper information to take action.

The layout of this book really shines:  the plant charts are a breeze to search and understand, and – should you require it – there is also a quick-glance index in the back.  The whole package looks great, too (clean lines, highly readable fonts, white space in all the right places), which lends to the ease of access.  I daresay a book like this could completely eliminate those panicked Google searches, you know the ones with the keywords “holes bean plants sticky brown bug” or “my peas have spots.”

What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden? really should be in every veggie grower’s library – while it’s not likely a book you will read cover to cover, the storehouse of information it holds might just save your crops one day!

What resources do you use to troubleshoot your garden when you see signs of pests or diseases?  Do you use computer search engines or reach for a book, or do you solicit the advice of someone in person?

I’m taking part in November’s Garden Book Reviews!  Click on over to Roses and Other Gardening Joys to check out the wonderful reviews by all the participating bloggers!


  1. Thanks so much for the review, and for joining in! This is one book I really need! I don’t know much about veggies, or the things that go wrong with them, and I try to use organic methods whenever possible. So, I know this book would probably get a lot of use from me! It’s going on my must-get list!

  2. What a great book. Exactly what I need. Much easier to look in this book than go online and search a with a list of symptoms or take some wilted thing over to the garden centre.

    • It definitely would be far simpler! The way the book is laid out is fantastic, and you can just glance through all of the given issues for each type of plant. Very handy!

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