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Gardening When It Counts (PDF)
Growing Food in Hard Times
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
Steve Solomon is a well-known west coast gardener and author of five previous books, including Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades which has appeared in five editions.
"I recommend Gardening When It Counts as an excellent first book for the beginning gardener. It includes all the practical details necessary to make, prepare, and tend a garden, make compost, choose varieties and seeds, and to grow just about everything. I also recommend it to all experienced gardeners. It is guaranteed to change the way you view and do gardening. Gardening When it Counts is a magnificent synthesis of garden science, original garden research, and agricultural history."
Carol Deppe, Ph.D., author of Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's and Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving.
"In Gardening When it Counts, Steve Solomon prepares the ground by encouraging us to embrace the organic revolution by growing more food with fewer imported resources and more ingenuity. He provides a hands-on account of amendment-centered gardening, using a wide variety of sources, and exhorts us to save seeds of kinds and varieties that we like to eat, that do well for us, and that may be dropped from current commercial seed inventories."
Alan M. Kapuler, Ph.D., President, Peace Seeds, and former Research Director and cofounder of Seeds of Change
"Steve Solomon's book is delightfully informative and abundantly rich with humor and grandfatherly wisdom. A must-read for anyone wanting a feast off the land of their own making.."
Elaine Smitha, host of "Evolving Ideas" radio and telvision, and author of If You Make The Rules, How Come You're Not Boss?
A year of foraging for wild food in the suburbs
Growing, Cooking, and Eating Well
Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future
Working with Nature to Build Soil Health
And Other Means of Keeping Seeds in the Hands of the People