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Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard timesby Steve Solomon
Synopses & Reviews
The decline of cheap oil is inspiring increasing numbers of North Americans to achieve some measure of backyard food self-sufficiency. In hard times, the family can be greatly helped by growing a highly productive food garden, requiring little cash outlay or watering.
Currently popular intensive vegetable gardening methods are largely inappropriate to this new circumstance. Crowded raised beds require high inputs of water, fertility and organic matter, and demand large amounts of human time and effort. But, except for labor, these inputs depend on the price of oil. Prior to the 1970s, North American home food growing used more land with less labor, with wider plant spacing, with less or no irrigation, and all done with sharp hand tools. But these sustainable systems have been largely forgotten. Gardening When It Counts helps readers rediscover traditional low-input gardening methods to produce healthy food.
Designed for readers with no experience and applicable to most areas in the English-speaking world except the tropics and hot deserts, this book shows that any family with access to 3-5,000 sq. ft. of garden land can halve their food costs using a growing system requiring just the odd bucketful of household waste water, perhaps two hundred dollars worth of hand tools, and about the same amount spent on supplies — working an average of two hours a day during the growing season.
Applicable to most areas in the English-speaking world except the tropics and hot deserts, this book shows that any family with access to 3-5,000 square feet of garden land can halve their food costs in most climates using just the odd bucketful of household waste water, a few hand tools, and a few hundred dollars per year spent on supplies and seeds - working just an average of two hours a day during the peak growing season. Helpfully illustrated, it covers a host of material including: vegetables ranked by how difficult they are to grow; root systems as the key to gardening mastery; seeds, spacing and irrigation; home made organic fertilizer that really works; how to choose, use and sharpen hand tools; compost making, root-cellaring and irrigation; and chemical-free handling of insects and diseases.
Designed for readers with no experience, yet an eye-opener for even the seasoned gardener, Gardening When It Counts returns the backyard food garden to center stage for uncertain times ahead.
The Decline of Cheap Oil and the threat of harder times to come is prompting people to grow more food themselves. But currently popular intensive vegetable gardening methods depend on cheap oil, requiring high inputs of water, fertility and organic matter. Prior to the 1970s, home food growing used more land because wider plant spacing reduces the need for irrigation and requires lower levels of soil fertility to be productive - and well-spaced plants can be weeded rapidly and conveniently with hand tools while standing upright. But these efficient systems have been largely forgotten. Gardening When It Counts helps readers rediscover these traditional low-input gardening methods in their quest to produce healthy and affordable food.
About the Author
Steve Solomon is a well-known west coast gardening guru, and author of five previous books. The founder of Territorial Seed Company, he has taught Master Gardener and Urban Farm classes at the University of Oregon in Eugene. His book, Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades has appeared in five editions.
Table of Contents
The coming hard times — Getting land — Becoming a vegetableatarian — What is a vegetable? — Helping plants grow — Increasing soil fertility — Tools and tasks — The basic three and a file — How to start a new garden — Raised beds and raised rows — The bow rake — Restoring a raised bed for planting again — The hoe — Miscellaneous tools — Care of tools — Garden centers — Transplants: Buyer beware — Growing your own seedlings the easy way — The garden center seedrack — Seeds — The mail-order seed business — Who to buy from — Making seeds come up — Saving on seed purchases — Growing your own — Watering ... and not — Four spacing systems — Not suffering drought — A gardener's textbook of sprinkler irrigation — Compost — Why compost? — Making low-grade compost — Medium-quality compost: The once-a-year heap — Humanure — Green manure and cover crops — Insects and diseases — Avoiding trouble — Insects and their remedies — Diseases and their remedies — What to grow ... and how to grow it — Some general tips — Crops that are easiest to grow — Crops that are harder to grow — Difficult vegetables.
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