Growing Vegetables in the Great Plains

The Great Plains may be the breadbasket of the nation, but it's a tough place to grow vegetables. Damaging spring winds, unpredictable hail storms, and late freezes combine with scorching summer heat, parched ground, and hordes of plant-destroying insects to ravage the crops of unwary gardeners. But a bountiful Plains garden, brimming with luscious tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, carrots, squash, and beans, is an achievable goal, according to botanist Joseph Thomasson. Even cool season vegetables like celery, head-lettuce, peas, and broccoli can be grown successfully--if you know how. Thomasson describes exactly how in this practical new gardening guide. His advice, tested in 18 years of backyard gardening throughout the region, is tailored for gardeners in the Great Plains--from North Dakota to Texas, from the Rocky Mountain foothills to Iowa and Missouri. First Thomasson focuses on the big picture, sizing up the particular climactic problems of the region and describing how gardeners can cope. He lists best-adapted plant varieties, including his favorites, and offers detailed advice about such gardening essentials as soil preparation, planting, water conservation, and more. He also provides a key to identifying pests and diseases and tells what to do about them. Then he moves closer for a look at the little picture. Why is a pumpkin leaf scratchy? How do plants breathe? Through the highly magnified images of scanning electron microscopy, Thomasson provides a unique perspective on the microscopic wonders of the garden, from a bee's stinger to cucumber pollen.