Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Book Reviews

Being cooped up through the last few months, I've been devouring gardening/homesteading/farming books.  Here are a couple that I've found really informative and/or entertaining.

The New Organic Grower; A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener, by Eliot Coleman.  If you're not familiar with Eliot Coleman, he is a back-to-the-land celebrity who has written several books and operates a year-round market garden in Maine.  I'm not sure what exactly to make of the really thorough descriptions of specialized equipment or his chapter-long diatribe about how pests don't bother well-raised plants (too bad you all can't see my skeptical look through the computer), but the book is full of gems.  It addresses several issues that have bothered me when I think about scaling the growing I do now up to a market garden several acres in size.  It stresses the importance of planning.  It is clearly written by someone who has a lot of experience doing pretty much what I would like to be doing.  Also, for anyone who hasn't read his other books the winter gardening information is a revelation.

(Incidentally, I also read his daughter Melissa Coleman's book this year and enjoyed it: This Life is in Your Hands).

The Essential Urban Farmer, by Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal.  Yes, it is kind of laughable to read a book about farming written by two women named Novella and Willow, but it is really a very good book.  Though it purports to be a book about farming, I think the authors realized that many of their readers would at best be trying to supply a bit of their own food.  That's okay - there are so many books about market gardening or hobby gardening out there, but this is the only one I know that addresses issues like urban soil contaminants, using urbanite (rubble) to build raised beds, planting espaliered fruit trees on a small lot, raising ducks, rabbits, and goats in the city, etc.  And they do know what they're talking about.  For example, it has somehow taken me five years to realize that I really want an outdoor space for cleaning off my produce - something this book will tell readers in the first 20 minutes.

Some other books I've enjoyed this year were:

  1. The Seed Underground, by Janisse Ray
  2. The Vegetable Gardener's Bible, by Edward C Smith
  3. The Quarter-Acre Farm, by Spring Warren

I've also really gotten into extension service pamphlets from many states.  I may start trying to keep a list of the best ones on various topics.

No comments:

Post a Comment