This is a lovely book, filled with diagrams and charts. The nature of companion benefit or detriment is clearly and thoroughly examined in the first half of the book, while the second half demonstrates how to best plan for a garden even if you have no more than a small window. The children's garden and postage stamp garden plans deserve special mention.
I love this book. Ms. Riotte has answered many questions I have had. Nicely written for those just beginning there journey into gardening. She even devotes a section solely to poisonous plants which is very interesting! Ms. Riotte breaks the chapters down as follows: Vegetables; Herbs; Wild Plants; Grasses, Grains, and Field Crops; First Steps for Home Fruit Growing; Nuts; Ornamental Trees and Shrubs; Garden Techniques; Soil Improvement; Pest Control;Poisonous Plants; Garden Plans; Sources; Suggested Reading. I like the fact that things are crossed referenced, so while it is a good read, you can also use it as a manual. The only thing I thought could be improved upon in the book was the drawings of the garden plans. They look as though someone drew them on a piece of paper and then photocopied them into the book. They are legible but hard to read. Luckily in writing they explain what they are drawing.
This book has revolutionised my gardening methods. Within a year of buying it 15 years ago, my garden became healthy and productive. Riotte has taught me how to match plants which are able to protect each other from pests and diseases without the use of sprays, chemical or organic. Her methods have built an invisible wall around my garden which keeps pests confined to my neighbors' yards without crossing into mine. Had I never read another gardening book or watched any gardening show, this book alone would have made me a successful organic gardener. I highly recommend it to beginning or advanced organic gardeners alike.
I have Louise Riotte's first book "Roses Love Garlic", and consider this one the better of the two. I have never considered myself an organic gardener, but this book makes it easier to give it a try. Riotte lists many of the more common plants, flowers and herbs in categories, along with many of the pests that find them tasty treats. I have used her book as a guide in planning my garden this year, and so far it has been very successful. The most difficulty I experienced was in setting up my garden and flower beds, trying to remember what plants and herbs would not do well next to each other. Like many other gardeners, I already had perennials within my garden. I had to figure out how to work around, or where to transplant them for maximum benefit. She does give several garden plans (small, herb, handicapped, etc), so they can be used as checkpoints and guides for putting in your own garden. An excellent reference to add to your gardening books.