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The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener, 2nd Edition (A Gardener's Supply Book) Paperback – October 1, 1995
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From Library Journal
Sue Gardner, Albert Wisner Lib., Warwick, N.Y.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Coleman's personable work draws together the experience and wisdom of his 25 years as a vegetable gardener in Maine. It includes nearly all the material in the previous edition (LJ 11/1/89), communicating a respect and feeling for "the land" and its processes. Every page is imbued with the wisdom and careful observations he and his associates have gathered; from soil structure to "mobile greenhouses" that expand the growing season, each method is thought through to its ultimate impact on the earth and on economic survival. Well-presented graphics illustrate methods and techniques. This new edition includes sidebar references and notes, new chapters on creating fertile soil (without importing items such as manure from sources that may not use organic methods), and use of existing information channels to learn of new information. Of interest for even the smallest veggie patch grower. The Dirt Doctor's Guide to Organic Gardening presents many of the same sustainable concepts with the vehemence of its radio talk show host and news columnist author. Garrett gives tips on a broader range of home gardening, including landscaping and wildlife, and spends much effort on the abuses of past and current practice. Basics are presented briefly, with many eco-asides that help break up the dense, information-rich text. Lack of visuals makes the material harder to absorb, yet one is constantly copying out directions as they appear. These tidbits and the coverage of issues concerning Southern gardens make the title of value, though gathering the tips in an appendix or special section would have provided better access. For general collections.
"This is the best book on small-scale farming I've read in years."--Pat Stone, Mother Earth News
"I know of no other person. . . who can produce better results on the land with an economy of effort and means than Eliot. He has transformed gardening from a task, to a craft, and finally to what Steward Brand would cal 'local science'."--Paul Hawken, from the Foreword
"Anybody seriously tempted to try. . . raising healthy food on healthy land. . . must first read The New Organic Grower. Coleman, who has been a quiet leader in the American organic movement for several decades, presents a balanced, logical exposition of his subject."--Horticulture
"Coleman conveys a vast amount of detailed information without ever insulting the intelligence of the reader. He speaks as if to a fellow home or market gardener, sharing what works for him and discussing what he knows and what he doesn't know. The New Organic Grower will be the book you dog-ear and feather with yellow sticky pages, returning to it time and again."--San Francisco Chronicle
"Eliot Coleman's book will help market gardeners establish the vital and profitable link between farm and city during the 1990s. Every small-scale grower and serious gardener should have a copy."--Robert Rodale
Top Customer Reviews
Coleman writes, 'The premise of this book is that you can make a good living on 5 acres or less of intensive vegetable production. Thus it is those acres that concern us most.' (p16)
In a nutshell, Coleman's approach is to:
- plan and market effectively
- develop the healthiest soil
- grow the most valuable crops
- extend the growing season to the maximum
He show just how to do this in 334 pages with 28 chapters and four appendices. There isn't space here to offer a contents list, but here are some highlights:
Chapters addressing the question 'why do it?' - Agricultural craftsmanship', 'a final question'
Chapters on 'season extension', mobile greenhouses and 'the winter garden'.
'Plant-positive' solutions to pests.
Chapters on marketing strategy and marketing.
However, 'The New Organic Grower' covers far more than this - in fact everything you could need to start successful organic vegetable production! Readers living in cool/temperate climates may also want to check out Coleman's other popular book, 'Four Season Harvest'.
The advantage enjoyed by the small farmer is quality. If the product is first class and in demand and you are a dependable supplier at reasonable cost there is never a problem finding customers. But it needs hard work and intelligence. When starting in the era of 'get big or get out' there were almost no models of commercially successful organic small farmers to provide inspiration and ideas and where they existed it was exhausting and neither cost effective nor efficient. But by seeking out the best from different parts of the world Coleman found the optimum to be about 2.5 acres per grower - enough to produce quality vegetables for 100 people.Read more ›
1: Irrigation. He mentions he built a pond at one point. No clue how irrigation fits his system, if it does.
2: Mulches. While mentioned several times, there is no chapter or sub-section devoted to this important topic.
3: Egg or dairy systems. Livestock mentioned in the book is for meat. There is no concession for non-meat animal uses. He mentions sheep that he buys at the beginning of the season, sets to graze with the chickens, and then sells for little profit just so his chickens get more protein (read: bigger breasts).
Coleman never gets tired of talking about his farm-based sources of nutrients, and yet he is completely dependent on outside inputs for his unbelievably intricate 10-year fertility regime. He casually mentions buying peat and clay by the ton, neglects any mention of animal husbandry, seed saving or permaculture of any sort.
At times this comes over as downright sanctimonious, particularly in the chapter "Pests?" In which Eliot explains how every pest problem you've ever had is your fault for not paying attention to the culture requirements of the plants. He calls all pest management practices "palliatives" meant to hide the problem rather than correct the source of the pest issue.
Overall a well written book with loads of useful information. You just have to get over Coleman's down-east arrogance to get to the juicy bits.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a market farmer, Coleman's book provided a new lens to analyze and improve upon our existing operations. Read morePublished 4 months ago by KSnow
Great advice from one of the masters. Want to take your garden to the next level this is must read.Published 4 months ago by Jackster
This book gives hope to want-to -be farmers who will never be able to buy large acreage. I gave it to a young man who has dreams of being a farmer.Published 6 months ago by Mary Morris
This book is over 30 years old and very outdated information. A total waste of money. Wish I knew that before ordering!Published 7 months ago by Cory M. Dumont