Speaking about her self-published “In The Garden: A Botanically Illustrated Gardening Book,” Sandra McPeake says, “I want it to become a very dirty book … take it to the garden … learn how to plant.”
McPeake’s love of gardening is a family tradition, and it’s based on the food she likes to eat.
"What are we really hungry for and what do I normally harvest to cook with” are questions she asks herself before each spring’s planting.
Sharing that love of gardening and inspiring young people to try it are the reasons she started the book, combining colorful images and fundamental information about growing vegetables.
That was 30 years ago, and she worked on it off and on never quite getting it done.
Last winter's harsh weather inspired her to stay indoors and finally finish the project, and it's good timing, as the interest in growing your own food continuing its upward arc. This is also the United Nation’s International Year of Family Farming.
Getting the book published proved to be difficult, but she persevered.
“You keep in mind the old Dr. Suess story that artists have that he went to over 20 publishers before somebody would pick his books up,” McPeake said.
Food Tank, a national nonprofit organization advocating gardening and healthy eating, has picked her book as one of its top reads for this summer.