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The $64 tomato
William Alexander
Adult Nonfiction SB320.7.N7 A44 2006

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From Publishers' Weekly:

When the author of this hilarious horticultural memoir plants a large vegetable garden and a small orchard on his Hudson Valley farmstead, he finds himself at odds with almost all creation. At the top of the food chain are the landscaping contractors, always behind schedule, frequently derelict, occasionally menacing. Then there are the herds of deer that batter the electrified fence to get at Alexander's crop, and the groundhog who simply squeezes between the wires, apparently savoring the 10,000-volt shocks. Most insidious are the armies of beetles, worms, maggots and grubs that provoke Alexander, initially an organic-produce zealot, into drenching his entire property with pesticides. He braves these trials, along with hours of backbreaking labor and the eye-rolling of his wife and children, for the succulence of homegrown food. He also manages to maintain a sense of humor, riffing on everything from the ugliness of garden ornaments to the politics of giving away vegetables to friends. Alexander's slightly poisoned paradise manages to impart an existential lesson on the interconnectedness of nature and the fine line between nurturing and killing. (Apr. 14) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Alexander writes the engaging tale of one man's pursuit of the perfect kitchen garden, from its original construction, fraught with delays and construction troubles, to his cost-benefit analysis that reveals each tomato he raised set him back $64. Along the way, we see him battle weeds, try to outsmart local wildlife, and solve the mystery of why his corn is falling over. We also watch him, a man who wants to grow organic produce, come to the sobering realization that he must use pesticides if he wants to harvest any apples at all. Canning produce goes from being a novelty to a chore, and his meadow doesn't turn out quite as he envisioned it. Whether sharing the story of his and his wife's garden statue debate or of the herniated disk that will change his gardening life forever, Alexander reveals himself to be a passionate gardener. This enjoyable book, laced with humor and Alexander's garden philosophy, is highly recommended for public and horticultural libraries.-Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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