Friday, January 21, 2011

Review: Growing Tasty Tropical Plants

Growing Tasty Tropical Plants
in any home, anywhere
by Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin
Storey Publishing, 2010

For those of us living in cool, northern climates, the idea of growing tropical fruit at home for consumption has been a dream that few have dared pursue... until now.

Laurelynn and Byron Martin, third-generation greenhouse growers in Connecticut, have recently started supplying tropical plants to home gardeners who are growing them on decks, patios and in containers indoors all across North America.

"Growing Tasty Tropical Plants in any home, anywhere" documents their conviction that almost everyone can enjoy the taste of the tropics without leaving home, provided they have the proper cultivars.

"One of the keys to success with tropical container fruits is providing the right environment for the plants as they grow and mature," they explain.

"Some types need a winter cool period, while others do best in warm conditions year-round. Some tropicals do well in partial sun, but many of them will produce fruit only when the grow in very bright conditions, such as a sunny windowsill, sunroom, or conservatory during the winter. If you don't have a sunroom or some large south-facing windows, then you'll need to explore using supplemental lighting for these plants."

The Martins profile 47 fruiting tropical plants in their text, from the well-known citrus fruits to the exotics like acerola, dwarf pomegranate and papaya and even chocolate, coffee, cinnamon, vanilla and sugarcane plants. An artist’s sketch and close up photograph of foliage, fruit and flower is included with each featured plant along with detailed instructions on cultivation, care and harvest.

"If you're brand new to container gardening, it's a good idea to start with plants that grow quickly and can tolerate a range ot temperatures," the Martins advise. These include coffee, fig, ‘Meyer’ lemon, naranjilla, orangeberry, tree tomato, and yerba mate plants.

This book invites readers to a gardening adventure rich with sunny flavors and exotic fragrances, growing fruits once forbidden beyond the tropics.

Growing Tasty Tropical Plants
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