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Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long, 2nd Edition Paperback – October 1, 1999
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From first sentence to last, Coleman's ( The New Organic Gardener ) book is a delight--an earnest guide written with an impish sense of humor. It will refresh anyone who wants to get the most from a vegetable garden yet doesn't want to devote too much time and energy to the process. Apparently Coleman thoroughly enjoys every phase of gardening--from planting crops to weeding. Who else has ever suggested, only half in jest, dancing with a hoe? Or keeping a pair of ducks for pest patrol? This is that kind of book. It's also a book full of valuable information on how to harvest fresh vegetables and salad ingredients literally year-round--yet without an expensive greenhouse or indoor light garden set-up. Coleman combines succession planting (small sowings three or more times, rather than one big endeavor) with cold-frame growing in the winter months. He includes how-tos for building simple cold-frames. Given the fact that he lives in Maine, his advice seems all the more reliable. He believes in simplicity ("If what I am doing in the garden seems complicated, it is probably wrong"), seasonality (tomatoes in summer, broccoli in fall, mache in February) and diplomacy in the garden (which "has more to teach us than just how to grow food"). Here, his philosophy of organic growing is shared easily. The book concludes with an extensive chapter on the vegetables that comprise his "cast of characters." Illustrated. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Four-Season Harvest is a magnificent work. It's enticing, inspiring, sensible, and it opens a whole new world for the home grower."--Peter Fossel, Country Journal
About the Author
Eliot Coleman has over fifty years experience in all aspects of organic farming, including field vegetables, greenhouse vegetables, rotational grazing of cattle and sheep, and range poultry. He is the author of The New Organic Grower, Four-Season Harvest, and The Winter Harvest Handbook, as well as the instructional workshop DVD Year-Round Vegetable Production with Eliot Coleman. Coleman and his wife, Barbara Damrosch, presently operate a commercial year-round market garden, in addition to horticultural research projects, at Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine.
- Publisher : Chelsea Green Publishing; 2nd Revised ed. edition (October 1, 1999)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 236 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1890132276
- ISBN-13 : 978-1890132279
- Item Weight : 1.25 pounds
- Dimensions : 8.03 x 0.63 x 10 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #32,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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1. Eliot writes in a very conversational manner, and in so doing, he tells of some personal stories (particularly their visit to France). If you are a 'cold hard facts' kind of person and you're looking for a technical manual, you probably will not enjoy this book. It is not a very technical book, though it is filled with a lot of great information.
2. If you do not have much of a winter to speak of (say, possibly Zone 9 and above), then this book may not prove to be too applicable to your situation.
That's really the only negatives I can forecast for any of you readers out there! Now, on to my review.
This book is a fun, easy-to-read manual on how to successfully grow crops year- round, and focuses on the crops that work best in the fall/winter months. You don't have to have a ton of money to do this. Eliot describes both the usage of cold frames and/or 'low tunnels' AKA 'chenilles' in the garden. These methods are described in enough detail that even a novice can successfully utilize them. The lovely thing about these methods is that you are using the warmth of the sun to keep your crops happy and healthy, and not using external heating devices. The list of acceptable crops is pretty expansive. I have read and re-read this book many a winter's evening sitting in front of our fireplace. It's very inspirational!
While Eliot is in Maine (Zone 5, is it?) the book can be used for any US zone, with the exception of those lucky temperate zones which never experience a freeze. The tables can be converted to your own zone and your growing method (cold frame/low tunnels)and he explains how to do this. I am in Zone 8, which rarely freezes for more than a day or so, so instead of using cold frames I can instead use the low tunnels, which look like a miniature greenhouse. Mine are only about 2 feet tall in the center and were created with clear plastic sheeting (you can buy in a roll at most any home improvement store) and either PVC or steel rods which make up the 'hoops'. I have had GREAT success with my low tunnels. This is my second year to do this, and I'll never look back, thanks to Mr. Coleman.
Last year, by the end of winter, I was treated to chard, broccoli, onions, cabbages, and cauliflower. This year, I have planted many lettuces, more chard, green onions and other crops which can be harvested throughout winter rather than at the very end of it.
Some people have complained that they would need to drop a ton of cash and buy a greenhouse. I'm not sure where they would get that idea from this book, since it clearly tells you what to plant, when to plant it, and how to properly protect it...all without going into discussion about investing in a greenhouse. If you are in a cold zone (6 or less) and can't spend a lot on cold frames, I would imagine that you could use old single pane windows or even doors for the glass.
This book inspired our first hoop house, and it was planted in our zone 6 location in January. We thought it would be impossible to get things going that late in the season, but I have pictures of us with a green bowl of salad with a March snow covering the outside of the hoop house, sort of like Mr. Coleman's photo on the cover.
This method of gardening really does work. It truly does extend the harvest period to a four season harvest. His advice is sound as you will end up with healthy, viable seedlings and plants, and you truly will be able to fill your table without spending fossil fuels going to the grocery store for something that's been flown in from California or overseas. There is nothing like eating fresh rainbow chard, beets, and salad from your own garden in DECEMBER. And it is so much more fun to weed the garden when its not 90+ degrees outside:)
Mr. Coleman gives charts and graphs, showing which vegetables can survive the colder temperatures, and he also provides suggestions on when to plant these items so that you have successive harvests. Some of the seeds may be harder to locate from mainstream seed houses, but I always find that Gourmetseed has them.
In reading the book, his stories about tours in Europe and more, show that he has a tremendous sense of humor and a positive approach. I suspect he and his wife are the kind of people that it would be fun to sit and have a glass of wine with - good natured sorts. The world needs more of them:)
I commend Mr Coleman heartily. This method puts food on the table, provides enjoyment for year around gardening, and is organic to boot. WOW.
edit to add this thoughtful quote from Mr. Coleman's book:
"We live in a world that has practiced violence for generations - violence to other creatures, violence to the planet, violence to ourselves. Yet in our garden, where we have nurtured a healthy soil-plant community, we see a model of a highly successful, non-violent system where we participate in gentle biological diplomacy rather than war. The garden has more to teach us than just how to grow food.
Train your garden to work year round, just like you have to do!
I've read just about all the different kinds of books there are on the subject, yet this one still manage to surprise me with insights I've seen nowhere else. For instance, yes, in colder seasons the plants do not grow. But they don't all die, either! Many plants continue to produce fruit, they just don't produce foliage. So unless you take full control of seasonal conditions (a real option provided you have the heat and light energy), you still have to get your foliage growth during the growing season, but you can still get other produce, or at least store it better on the vine than in the cold cellar.
Eliot Colman has been testing his methods in different parts of the real world, in many different zones, so you know there's something here for your situation. And for those of you who plant indoors, or want to, now you know you don't have to burn kilowatts all year long to do it, just for the few weeks required to build your plants up to the scale you need to do the job, and then coast for the rest of the year!
This and many more insights need to be in your repertoire to realize the best results for your time and efforts, and this is where you'll get it.
Top reviews from other countries
Descubrí a Coleman a través del libro de los impulsores de Bec Hellouin, en Francia. Coleman es un apasionado y estudioso de la horticultura francesa, y explica que Maine (donde está su huerto) está en el paralelo 44, que es el mismo paralelo que el sur de Francia (mismas horas de luz a través del año). Más allá de las corrientes cálidas que benefician a Francia, la aplicación que hace del aprendizaje en otra zona enriquece muchísimo el espectro de lo que se puede hacer en el huerto.
Ojalá hubiese encontrado a Coleman antes, pero nunca es tarde.
La única pega es que hay que convertir todas las medidas de imperial a métrica.