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This title in other editions

The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Ga

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The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Ga Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Bill Alexander had no idea that his simple dream of having a vegetable garden and small orchard in his backyard would lead him into life-and-death battles with groundhogs, webworms, weeds, and weather; midnight expeditions in the dead of winter to dig up fresh thyme; and skirmishes with neighbors who feed the vermin (i.e., deer). Not to mention the vacations that had to be planned around the harvest, the near electrocution of the tree man, the limitations of his own middle-aged body, and the pity of his wife and kids. When Alexander runs (just for fun!) a costbenefit analysis, adding up everything from the live animal trap to the Velcro tomato wraps and then amortizing it over the life of his garden, it comes as quite a shock to learn that it cost him a staggering $64 to grow each one of his beloved Brandywine tomatoes. But as any gardener will tell you, you can't put a price on the unparalleled pleasures of providing fresh food for your family.

Synopsis:

Who knew that Bill Alexander's simple dream of having a vegetable garden and small orchard would lead him into life-and-death battles with webworms, weeds, and a groundhog named Superchuck? Over the course of his hilarious adventures, Alexander puzzles over why a six-thousand-volt wire doesn't deter deer but nearly kills his tree surgeon; encounters a gardener who bears an eerie resemblance to Christopher Walken; and stumbles across the aphrodisiac effects of pollen when he plays bumble bee to his apple blossoms.

When he decides (just for fun) to calculate how much it cost to grow one of his beloved Brandywine tomatoes, he comes up with a staggering $64. But as any gardener knows, you can't put a price tag on the rewards of homegrown produce, or on the lessons learned along the way.

About the Author

William Alexander has been gardening and small-scale farming for over twenty-five years. He lives with his wife and their two children in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Table of Contents

Contents

————————

Prologue: Gentleman Farmer 1

Whore in the Bedroom, Horticulturist in the Garden 3

We Know Where You Live 21

One Mans Weed Is Jean-Georgess Salad 47

No Such Thing as Organic Apples 75

You May Be Smarter, But Hes Got More Time 96

Nature Abhors a Meadow (But Loves a Good Fire) 131

Shell-Shocked: A Return to the Front (Burner) 146

Christopher Walken, Gardener 162

Cereal Killer 186

Statuary Rape 208

Harvest Jam 220

The Existentialist in the Garden 238

The $64 Tomato 247

Childbirth. Da Vinci. Potatoes. 256

Acknowledgments 267

Suggested Reading 269

Recipes for the Paperback Edition 271

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Shoshana, July 20, 2009 (view all comments by Shoshana)
This gardening memoir is a fine object lesson about how a hobby or passion can become a burden or obsession. Alexander shows the progression from the idea of the garden, the expansion of the idea, the expansion of the expansion, and the realization that joy has become drudgery. Alexander is both humorous and self-deprecating. Those reviewers who focus their criticism on his switch from organic to non-organic pesticides make a useful point about garden practices but miss the focus of this particular narrative, which is, at its heart, about the impossibility of supplanting one system (here, nature) with another. The amendments that make your tomatoes grow also support your weeds. Your tomatoes are eaten by insects, slugs, groundhogs, and deer. Cultivated land is overrun. As Carl Sandburg wrote, "I am the grass; I cover all." Though Alexander does not overtly pursue this idea as an emblem for civilization, he does highlight the theme that gardening, or bridge-painting, or other constructive pursuits must be actively pursued in order to maintain their object. Read with an inspirational garden planning book to enjoy the discrepancy between fantasy and reality; read with Weisman's The World Without Us or Bodanis's The Secret House for further ruminations on, respectively, systems change and Things That Live on and Around You, despite your best efforts.
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Jeane, July 11, 2008 (view all comments by Jeane)
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book. I ate it all up- in just two days. This author turned his hilly backyard into a huge, nearly unmanageable vegetable and flower garden. Trying to grow the most tasty produce, he battles with groundhogs, insect pests, thieving squirrels, etc. It's pretty hilarious. I don't think I would ever use his methods: hiring a landscaper to prepare the plot, setting up a five-thousand voltage electric fence, trying to outright kill any wildlife that wants to munch on his prize heirloom tomatoes. Yet I can sympathize with his frustrations. The crazy thing is that after spending tons of money on his garden, and struggling to get it to grow, he had more food than his family could eat. I really liked his solution.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
ldibacco, April 6, 2007 (view all comments by ldibacco)
I can't wait to send this book along to my gardening friends! Laugh out loud humor and a love of nature make for a wonderful read. If you've ever had a garden, chances are you'll see a little bit of yourself in Mr. Alexander's quest for fresh produce!
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(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781565125575
Author:
Alexander, William
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Subject:
Farmers & Ranchers
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Vegetable gardening
Subject:
Gardeners
Subject:
Gardeners - Hudson
Subject:
Naturalists, Gardeners, Environmentalists
Subject:
Vegetables
Subject:
Biography-Gardeners and Naturalists
Subject:
Gardening-Vegetable
Subject:
Humor : General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20070331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Home and Garden » Gardening » Organic Gardening
Home and Garden » Gardening » Vegetable
Home and Garden » Gardening » Writing
Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General

The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Ga New Trade Paper
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$13.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill - English 9781565125575 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Who knew that Bill Alexander's simple dream of having a vegetable garden and small orchard would lead him into life-and-death battles with webworms, weeds, and a groundhog named Superchuck? Over the course of his hilarious adventures, Alexander puzzles over why a six-thousand-volt wire doesn't deter deer but nearly kills his tree surgeon; encounters a gardener who bears an eerie resemblance to Christopher Walken; and stumbles across the aphrodisiac effects of pollen when he plays bumble bee to his apple blossoms.

When he decides (just for fun) to calculate how much it cost to grow one of his beloved Brandywine tomatoes, he comes up with a staggering $64. But as any gardener knows, you can't put a price tag on the rewards of homegrown produce, or on the lessons learned along the way.

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