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Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times (Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series) Paperback – April 1, 2006
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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.
Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series(2005-11-16)
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Point being: I read Solomon's book about promoting the old-fashioned ways of just simply hoeing the garden-go figure. This is something my elderly Dad has been telling me for years-that I didn't want to believe. I read Solomon's book and decided to try it this year...and I have to admit that Solomon and my Dad are right! I finally have a grass-free, beautiful garden, and I have spent a fraction of what I normally spend-no money on mulch! Thirty minutes every other day hoeing out grass with an old-fashioned hoe is the best thing that has happened to my garden in 15 years. The bermuda grass roots are already dying. By the end of the season-the garden will be free of bermuda grass (and roots) completely and next year will get easier!
I am becoming more of an old-fashioned gardner every day-thanks to Solomon...tried and true methods are tried and true for a reason.
Practices that he suggests in some cases cut against the grain of current or coventional, accepted gardening wisdom, ie. "all seeds are the same, it's the vendor that makes the difference", "seedlings from a grower are better and make for a faster start, than doing your own." For the novice to the knarled, experienced gardener there are points gleaned out of Solomon's 40+ years of gardening and seed merchandising that will be of interest, not to mention benefit.
His somewhat unconventional methods, ideas, and practices will fit into anyone's gardening, but especially nicely into those who are interested in gardening without the benefit of "modern" conveniences and accepted, mandatory "additives".
I recommend it.
I appreciate that he gives more than one way to do things, he gives options for how much money, time and ability you have and I often will just reread portions of this book for enjoyment.
The only reason I don't drag this book into the garden as much as The Vegetable Gardener's Bible: Discover Ed's High-Yield W-O-R-D System for All North American Gardening Regions [VEGETABLE GARDENERS BIBLE]is the layout is not as easy when I'm out working and covered in dirt and just needing a tidbit like should I plant my new beet patch next to tomatoes or beans? And the individual vegetable pages are not as nicely laid out - it is more of a bare-bones book in the layout, rather than more ample open spacing and wasted page space.
BUT one important issue that few other books talk abut is the root space each plant needs; he delves into great detail and drawings of each plants optimal root space.
I have followed a lot of his direction this year and I do admit to having a gorgeous prosperous garden! I highly recommend this book to be in your tool chest, if you are growing food to eat.
(and my garden is red clay)
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Like so many writers, Steve Solomon tends to present his way as The One True Way.Read more