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One Magic Square: The Easy, Organic Way to Grow Your Own Food on a 3-Foot Square Paperback – February 16, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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The 30 'Magic Square' garden plots offer plenty of ideas, from a simple salad garden with a variety of lettuces, to gardens for soup, stir fry, root crops and more.”
San Francisco Chronicle
So many gardening books feature plants' mile-long Latin names and confusing charts. Not this one. Its easy-to-follow instructions, diagrams, and photos inspire desire to grow good-for-the-body fresh produce from little yard space. A bonus: some delicious serving suggestions. One Magic Square tells you everything you need to get started and profiles each plant.”
Australian gardener Houbein has a personal and intimate understanding of food security, having survived famine during the Nazi occupation in Holland. She warns of the dangers of globalized, corporate agribusiness and 'aims to put you in control of the production of at least part of the food you need.'... The book provides basic gardening information and a wide variety of square-yard vegetable garden plans... [and is] as much a compilation of Houbein's gardening life as a straightforward step-by-step how-to manual. Like an eccentric but wise great aunt, at turns whimsically practical... Houbein offers much valuable advice.”
One Magic Square . . . enchants on many levels. Veggie gardeners (especially rookies) will benefit from Houbein's knowledge, which is informed by science and folk wisdom, as well as the breadth of its content (growing information, 30 design plots, many recipes). This single line could sustain us for life: 'Never garden in a mood of wanting to control everything.'”
The Chicago Tribune
From plot designs to starting seeds to composting, [One Magic Square] offers beginners a manageable way to get started with organic gardening. It also gives great advice on natural ways of keeping pests away, as well as useful vegetable groupings, even recipes.”
[Lolo Houbein] asserts that anyone can grow vegetables using only a plot about the size of one square yard. She offers good directions on what to put into compost, how often to turn it to speed the process, how to go about companion planting and intercropping, and how to pinch, thin, and prune plants to keep them in check . . . [and] includes plot plans for everything from cancer prevention and antioxidant plants to basic salad and soup ingredients, with instructions for where to plant what in each plot.”
Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Lolo Houbein’s magic garden squares are creative, international, and a fun way to learn the magic of growing your own food.”
Tanya Denckla, author of The Gardener’s AZ Guide to Growing Organic Food
This timely guide will assist first-time and experienced gardeners in taking control of their own food supply at a time of...increasing fuel and food prices. Food gardening is the most intelligent adult endeavor on earthLolo Houbein shows you how to do it, and why you should.”
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The book is authored by a lady who has survived a childhood in WWII Europe, and who advocates growing your own food. While I really liked the upbeat, sweet vibe of the text that reminded me of my childhood in my grandmother's garden, I found the book to be very unrealistic in it's claims.
I have been veg gardening for 20 years, using the biointensive method (which means: plants spaced as closely as possible, grown in raised beds, with very deeply worked, excellent quality soil), and I find that the book's bed layouts are completely useless and misleading. The author suggests such crowding of plants that it is preposterous to expect any harvest at all!
For example, in her pizza/pasta plot, the author crams not only 3 eggplants and 6 peppers into one 3'x3' square (which would already be very crowded), but also 3 tomatoes (!), 1 arugula, several red onions, one basil. In addition, all this is grown around a center filled with more onions, while chives are sprinkled around 3 of the peppers!
As I have mentioned, I have gardened for 20 years, and for at least part of this time, I have been using the 3'x3' layout. I have raised tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and all the other plants mentioned above, and believe me, they can't even begin to fit into one square, all at the same time. Typically, if the weather cooperates, and you have great soil, you can just barely fit 2 tomatoes into one of those beds, and if all the stars align, then maybe 1 pepper and 1 basil in addition. And that would be pushing it!Read more ›
She relies heavily on Blood & Bone and manure as fertilizers, and considering I own a Mini Cooper, that doesn't sound easy to acquire, so I'll probably just try it with some compost this year and see how the plants take to that.
Warning, the book is written from an Australian perspective, so when she says "north," you know she means "south" for the southern hemisphere. Also, she can plant through winter, and the weather where we are is below freezing for about 4 months out of the year. If you've gardened a little bit before and want to take things to the next level, this is for you.
With this inspiration and guidance, the first garden can be so fun and productive that you will never stop.
You don't need to buy anything but some seeds and start growing veggies like salads on a 3-foot-suare.
Everyone, even a child can take care of such a small area. And so you will be tempted to make the next square, this one with some tomatoes or snow peas, and just another one with summer squash and beans and a few corn stalks...and so on.
Before you recognize it you're a veggie gardener with lots of your own homegrown veggies and it's a lot of fun.
Everyone seems to think that growing a veggie garden is lots and lots of back breaking hard work - the author proves that it can be easy and fun.
Just start small, one square at a time.
I love this book and wish it had been there 30 years earlier when I started gardening.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This has been a wonderful addition to my gardening book collection. We are just in the planing phase of our square foot garden . This book has been a great help with that.Published 13 days ago by Andrew W. Wood
One Magic Square provides a starting point for creating a small home garden. By starting with just a 3 foot square, a sustainable garden can be created and then slowly expanded... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Talvi
Love this book. It's a really nice approach to gardening. I like that she's not fussy. If something doesn't work, oh, well, it's only plants. You can start over again. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Fly By Night
This book will be a great help and inspiration for me to start my veggie gardenPublished 15 months ago by Bronwen Wilkin
I wasn't expecting much information: due to the bargain price, but this book has more information. (practical ideas) Than my 25 dollar bio intensive garden books. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Azeruss
Great ideas for people with small yards, or who want to just try something different in the garden. I had a copy, and my eldest son kept asking if he could read it when I was done. Read morePublished on January 16, 2014 by HomeschoolMom366
After taking this book out of the library, I knew it was one I had to own. Very well written, packed with great gardening advice as well as lots of yummy sounding recipes. Ms. Read morePublished on November 14, 2013 by Rita Ramseyer