Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber


An author’s new book shares her love of earthly delights

October 29, 2013 · Updated 3:30 PM

Take down that vampire-repelling garlic from your door and plant it. That’s the advice given in “Garden On, Vashon,” a new book just released by The Beachcomber’s garden blogger, Karen Dale.

Inspired by Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” Dale wrote the book after realizing that island gardeners and farmers could yield a bookful of stories and tips.

The book is equal parts gardening how-to, island history and gardening adventures with the author.

To broaden her research net, Dale joined the island’s fruit club and gardening club.

“There are plenty of books that tell you how to prune or how to raise plants, so I wanted something different — to give the reader experiences, hanging out with these avid gardeners, doing what they’re doing literally in the field,” Dale said. “In this way, the book’s very much an updated portrait of the island and islanders’ relationships with the land here.”

Dale also chased down the history of the Beall Greenhouses, once one of the largest producers of cut roses and orchids in the world, and shows readers what it was like to work there in its heyday.

She also includes some of the history of strawberry growing and of fruit farming, the entire history of Vashon Allied Arts’ Garden Tour from its start in 1990, and tracks island wine-making from before Prohibition to today’s hobby growers and winemakers.

Dale raised the money for printing the book through a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign this summer. She is selling copies herself — books will be for sale at the Vashon Bookshop, True Value, Thriftway and the Vashon Pharmacy by early November.

Dale will also have copies of the book for sale at the VIGA Farmers Market and at the Fruit Club’s fruit show on Saturday.

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