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The Heirloom Life Gardener: The Baker Creek Way of Growing Your Own Food Easily and Naturally Hardcover – October 4, 2011


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The Heirloom Life Gardener: The Baker Creek Way of Growing Your Own Food Easily and Naturally + Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners, 2nd Edition
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; First Edition edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401324398
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401324391
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jere Gettle's passion for farming developed early, and by the age of seventeen he was in business, selling seeds from his bedroom in Mansfield, Missouri. He didn't set out to start an empire, but to save heritage plant varietals from being lost to genetically modified mega plants and to wave the banner for a way of life he saw rapidly disappearing. He began traveling to far off places, Asia, South America; anywhere he could find and swap rare and unusual seeds, and started a seed catalog that now has 350,000 devoted customers. His seed company employs over 200 full time staff and includes a store, vegan restaurant, and pioneer village in his home town of Mansfield, Mo., as well as two other retail operations--the Seed Bank in Petaluma, California, and Comstock in Westerfield, Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

Would recommend this book to anyone that wants to start gardening.
Wilma Sails
I wish I'd read this book BEFORE planting my garden... Very helpful and easy to understand information.
Amazon Customer
Jere and Emilee Gettle (founders of the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company of which I am a huge fan!)
Victory Girl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By R. George on March 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book starts out letting you get to know the author somewhat. I think that this is appropriate, as his love of vegetable gardening and heirloom varieties permeate the pages of this book. Besides containing information on how to garden, this book actually makes me want to garden.

To address concerns you may have after reading other reviews: Yes, the first part is a biography of the author, some of his adventures, and where he is coming from both philosophically and geographically. It is probably shorter than it could be, but does take up about 42 pages out of 228. I found this section a fun and interesting read, and a great way to connect with the author. You may or may not enjoy it, but I do not feel that the rest of the book suffers due to this longer biographical section.

Yes, there are a lot of pictures, mostly of vegetables, to show the uniqueness and diversity that heirloom vegetables have to offer. If you have ever seen the magazine or catalog that Baker Creek puts out, their use of photography is similar in this book to those other publications. Personally I enjoy all the pictures of vegetable varieties that I may not have seen before.

The sections on how to garden make up about 30 pages total. There is enough information to get you going, with ideas for variations based on your particular gardening situation. I think that there is a lot of information here, but certainly not everything is covered. There are books that cover with much more depth areas such as pests, pest management, plant nutrition, etc. While that can all be valuable information when you need it, sometimes throwing it at a novice gardener can leave them feeling overwhelmed. So yes, there could be more information here, but I think that these few chapters are great.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By TD in Indiana on November 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I buy my seeds from Baker Creek for my garden and I also get their magazine so I was very excited when I saw they made a book! This book is wonderful. It gives very helpful information on growing vegetables from A-Z and the format is the same on each type of vegetable which makes it very easy to follow. I also liked how it will help me prepare my garden before I plant it, such as cover crop and compost tea.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
`The Heirloom Life Gardner' has been published to help lead gardeners back to naturally grown, free of pesticides, genetically modified food, especially with the use of heirloom seeds...Have you ever tasted one of the new seedless watermelons, compared to the old fashioned kind that had seeds and such wonderful flavor? That alone should be a reason for a step back to `real' foods.

There are many close up photos of plants, friends and family. Subjects covered are; an explanation of growing up with heirlooms, the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed company, seeds in America, collecting seeds around the world, how to garden - showing the right spot to garden, preparing the soil, planting, weeding, mulching, pest and disease control, saving seed, the city farmer (where they do mention to have structural engineers check for rooftop gardens, but many people need more of an emphasis on the importance of that). There is a 129 page - A to Z growing guide, starting with amaranth ending with watermelon--, giving a photo, information on growing tips, pests and diseases, seed saving and what you can do with it in the kitchen.
It would have been appreciated if there would have been some storage, canning, freezing tips.

There is information on the different markets available, farmer's, roadside, CSA's and a list of resources in the United States and Canada. An index is also included.

A beginning gardener might need a bit more help from a more simplistic book in getting started, but with this, one would have a very complete resource.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kate Copsey on January 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Jere and Emilee Gettle co founded Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds a decade ago and have become a trusted resource for organic, heirloom seeds from around the globe. The book is the tale of how that company got started, and the background to the interesting people who own it.
The book is more than just a story though it is also about how you can embrace the same gardening techniques from conditioning your soil to dealing with local pests - who demolish your crops. We are introduced to the crops in the second section of the book. Each crop description tells a little about the history of the crop as well as some of the best heirloom varieties to grow as well as how to use them in the kitchen. How to save the seeds of each open pollinated vegetable is also covered along with likely pests that you might encounter.
The book is beautifully produced with lots of colorful images of the Gettles, their neighbors, and their fascinating vegetable varieties
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Phillip O. VINE VOICE on December 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The authors are the owners of Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company (if you don't have their catalog, request it), an organic vegetable seed company in Missouri. In this book they talk about the resurgence of the "grow your own food" revolution, their backgrounds and love of gardening and their world travels to seek out new vegetable varieties. Practical advice is given to starting and maintaining a vegetable garden, how to save seeds and an A-Z growing guide has 2-3 page entries on individual vegetables. The photos are amazing and it was exciting to see unusual vegetables in colors and shapes that I had never heard of.
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