Maker Comics: Grow a Garden!
The purpose of the Maker Comics line is admirable: to teach readers essential or entertaining skills in illustrated form. Unfortunately, while I was very interested in the topic, Maker Comics: Grow a Garden! by Alexis Frederick-Frost was the first series entry that disappointed me.
It’s overwhelming. There’s too much background information provided too technically. Instead of feeling encouraged, as though I could try these processes myself (as I did after reading Maker Comics: Fix a Car!), I was frightened away.
A group of students starting at Garden Gnome Academy learn gardening from a crusty old professor. There’s too much going on here, as the students also talk about the comics they read and adopt a worm pet and search out the secrets of the academy library and fight a snooty teacher who only wants to grow exotic plants.
Lessons include how to make a compost bin (with information on the chemical processes), growing seasons, reading seed packets, germinating seeds, making a cold frame, and setting up a container garden. Lessons on making your own seed pot, making your own potting soil, and making your own grow light setup were way too in-depth for this casual reader. It seemed like much too much work to just grow some veggies, which was the part I was interested in. Especially since I’d be likely to buy much of this equipment as an amateur just starting.
All this background material means we don’t get to see the gnomes actually grow or harvest much of what they start. Just as the part I’m interested in is beginning, the book ends. Instead of seeing the outcome of a successful garden, we get a superhero battle out of nowhere. I also hoped that there would be more information on fixing or avoiding problems with plants, but there are only a couple of pages on how to recognize when something’s wrong. (The publisher provided a review copy.)