Writing a vegetable gardening book is like growing a biennial plant

Blue Ribbon Vegetable Gardening bookIt’s taken two years to see what my Blue Ribbon Vegetable Gardening book will look like. It’ll be another five months before I can hold it in my hands.

But pre-ordering has already begun.

Just like a biennial plant, this gardening book has taken its time to put down roots and start to grow. Biennial plants typically take two years from seed to flower.

It’s like planting hollyhocks one year, seeing the rosette of green leaves the next season, and then having to wait another year to see the colors of the flowers in bloom.

The idea for Blue Ribbon Vegetable Gardening sprouted with me about four years ago. After doing the research, I found the most current books about growing perfect produce for exhibiting in vegetable contests were written about 100 years ago.

As the idea took shape, I decided I needed to grow and show some of my own garden-grown produce. That meant planting in spring and waiting to see what would be ready in late summer to take to the fair.

That season, three little cherry tomatoes, a few peppers and a handful of basil looked like the best options.

And I was right. I came home with three blue ribbons.

That fall I started researching the history of vegetable exhibitions. Then I started writing the book proposal.

In early 2013 Storey Publishing accepted the proposal and invited me to visit in July of that year to discuss the book.

As soon as I returned home from North Adams, Mass., I started writing. And I wrote all winter and into spring.

The first draft was ready in April 2014. The publisher’s photo team went to the Iowa State Fair to take pictures for the book that summer.

Meanwhile, John and I went to the Alaska State Fair to take pictures, too.

Over the last year, the book has been in production. It’s due to bloom — I mean get released — this December.


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Awesome! Can’t wait to read it!

I hope you’ll like it, Mike. It was a lot of fun to do all the research–especially looking through so many old British and American gardening books and magazines.


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