Author Willi Galloway urges gardeners to grow their own food

Special to the HeraldFebruary 7, 2013 

Grow. Cook. Eat.

That could be the mantra of any avid vegetable gardener, but it’s also the title of a great gardening book by Willi Galloway. While her book includes sound advice for vegetable gardeners, it also could be considered a coffee table book because of the beautiful photographs of vegetables or a cookbook because of the scrumptious recipes.

Willi Galloway is an award-winning radio commentator, writer and former editor at Organic Gardening magazine. Not only does she love growing vegetables, she also enjoys cooking and eating them. She has said that she is not sure if she gardens because she loves food or if she loves gardening because she grows food. Galloway also writes a kitchen gardening and seasonal cooking blog (digginfood.com) and plays host to an online garden-to-table cooking show with her husband.

While she now lives in Portland with her husband Jon, her dog Domino and her small flock of chickens, Galloway moved to Seattle after leaving Organic Gardening. In Seattle, she became a Washington State University Extension Master Gardener and served on the board of Seattle Tilth, a nonprofit organization that teaches people to organically grow produce.

Galloway is an experienced organic urban gardener who encourages others to grow their own food. In her book’s introduction, she notes that to “grow food is to really know food,” pointing out that there is much more to experience when you eat veggies grown by you instead of buying them at the store.

Grow Cook Eat is full of sound basic gardening information and helpful tips. One tip is to acquire an inexpensive soil thermometer to take the guesswork out of when to plant in the spring. With a soil thermometer, you can see if the soil is warm enough for peas, potatoes, transplants or seeds.

Want to grow vertically in your garden using a trellis? Galloway favors the use of panels of welded wire mesh used to reinforce concrete. She recommends attaching panels of welded wire mesh to a common wooden cedar fence using staples to turn the fence into a vertical gardening space. For best exposure to the light, place your panels on the west- or south-facing sides of the fence.

Galloway’s tip on pre-sprouting peas in moist paper towels before planting in the garden ensures that the peas will sprout and grow before rotting in cold soil. She’s found that pre-sprouted peas will grow before unsprouted peas break the soil surface.

The subtitle to Galloway’s Grow Cook Eat is “A Food Lover’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening including 50 Recipes, Plus Harvesting and Storage Tips.” If you love vegetable gardening and eating vegetables, you’ll love this book.

-- Marianne C. Ophardt is a horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

WILLI GALLOWAY TO SPEAK MARCH 9 IN RICHLAND Willi Galloway, author of Grow Cook Eat, will be the keynote speaker at Washington State University Extension’s Spring Garden Day on March 9 at Bethel Church in Richland.

Galloway’s morning address will be followed in the afternoon by other classes presented by WSU Master Gardeners, WSU faculty and local experts. Classes include Growing Blueberries, Square Foot Gardening, The World of Geraniums, Pruning Young Trees, Establishing a Backyard Pond, Be a Great Garden Photographer and Xeric & Alpine Plants of the Mid-Columbia.

The cost is $20 per person. Registration is required by March 8. For information, call 509-735-3551.

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