Sunday, February 10, 2013

Book Review: The $64 Tomato

I've had this book in my "to read" list for quite some time and my sister bought if for me as a Christmas gift this year (probably because she, like my mom, is tired of seeing the same things on my Christmas List year after year).

The book was pretty much what I expected it to be - a story of a man and how gardening both made him sane and crazy (helps him de-stress, but he's also out at the college collecting apple tree pollen so he can pollinate some early blooming apple trees).  Because that's what gardening's all about, right?  I don't think I found it quite as funny as some of the "I almost went crazy" books I've read in the past (for the record, I absolutely loved "Enslaved by Ducks").  But I did enjoy the book.  I finished it about a month ago or so and I already know that I will end up re-reading it again which says something about a book - if I want to read it again, it was a good book.  Yes, yes, I'm one of those weirdos that re-reads books over and over and over if I like them.  Drives my husband nuts.  I'm not sure why, though, you'd figure that since he doesn't like spending money, he'd love that I re-read the same books over and over.

If you want to read this book, be forewarned that it is written by a man who lives in the Northeast so it isn't necessarily going to be prescient to those of us who live in Texas - growing tomatoes in the middle of summer?  having 3 uninterrupted months to plan what you want to put in the garden? That's just crazy talk.  I did also take issue with how he calculated the cost of his Brandywine tomatoes at the end of the book - I have no issue with amortizing the cost of start up throughout all the years (in fact you should take that into account), but I do take issue with assuming that all of his other crops for the year would only be worth what he would pay at the farm stand instead of splitting the overrun over all of the crops - it's the difference between saying "I spent $100 dollars on ten of the things" vs. "I spent $50 on nine of the things and $50 on this one thing."  He also doesn't count his time spent in the garden in the cost - of course, I'm not sure that I would either because I like to garden and I do it because I like it, not because I'm getting crops from it.

So, would I recommend the book?  Yes and no.  If you don't do veggie gardening, you probably won't care for it; but if you do do veggie gardens, you may appreciate it.


Anonymous said...

I loved this book. I accepted it as it was and didn't try to analyze it, but then again, I'm pretty laid back. That's probably why I didn't find any issues with it. I also recommended the book to several folks. Great book!

Roberta said...

I ordered this book when it was on the Algonquin Lucky Seven list but I haven't read it yet. If you don't know about Algonquin Lucky 7, Google it cuz the prices are really great ($1.99) and each month they feature a different group. So yes. This is on my Kindle. I just finished Amy Stewart's book From The Ground Up and enjoyed it quite a bit.