At the moment, one of my favorite pals is boarding a plane to kick off her first ever book tour.
Robyn Jasko, creator of Grow Indie, the Grow Indie test garden, the Kutztown Community Garden, and author of Homesweet Homegrown, has been a good friend of mine since 1998.
Me and Robyn at the Chili Throwdown in 09
Back in the dorms, we used to watch 21 Jump Street every afternoon, and travel through our tiny college town, looking for adventures at night. We bonded over a zealous appreciation for sarcasm, gossip, and "goodtimes." I met - not one, not two, but THREE - boyfriends through her - AND a crapload of great friends.
Robyn, Me, Tigercat, Poppy, and my housemate Heidi this past New Years
I love Robyn.
... That's not why I'm reviewing her book.
I'm reviewing her book because IT'S REALLY EFFIN' GOOD.
Over the past several years, I've amassed so many library fines in overdue gardening and herb books. And regardless of how much I read, nothing sank in.
Then I started working with Robyn at the Grow Indie test garden. Watching her work over the past two seasons, I've learned so much.
... Like how to build a trellis
... How to stake tomatoes
... So they grow up to be THIS!
How to grow beautiful and delicious Swiss Chard...
... How to keep radishes fresh
Then came Homesweet Homegrown.
It's like having Robyn right there, helping me. Her book delivers tons of information, everything she knows about gardening. BUT it gives you this info in incredibly easy-to-read increments. The start of the book dedicates a page to a vegetable. Robyn lists growing, care, and harvesting instructions.
In the middle, there are guides to do-it-yourself potting, trellising and harvesting.
At the end, there's recipes! These recipes are not your typical recipes. Robyn gives you recipes for rare stuff like garlic scape pesto, raw stuff like kimchi, and local friend favorites, like my ex-boyfriend's Beltzville potatoes.
My favorite part of the book? The charts! I LOVE CHARTS!
There are two beautiful charts explaining companion planting and interplanting. Basically - you can increase the growability of your plants by planting them beside their "friends." The charts are simple to follow. And they include cute illustrations too.
All draw-rings were drawn by the one-and-only, local Kutztown artist Jen "Tigercat" Biggs. Tigercat is another one of my favorite people - a tattooed gluten-free workaholic who laughs at my jokes.
You may remember Tigercat from videos such as "Hittin' the Sauce..."
And "Under the Bridge."
Currently, Robyn, her husband Paul David, Tigercat, and Classy Poppy are traveling across the US with Homesweet Homegrown. They are bringing the book to cities like Seattle, Austin, Boulder, and New York.
To see when they are close to you, check the tour page on the Homesweet Homegrown website!
If you have a chance to see them, please do! I can guarantee a brilliant lesson in gardening and a good time.
To buy Robyn's book, check out her webpage, or Microcosm or Amazon.