Discover forgotten low-input food gardening methods for surviving uncertain times ahead.
From the Back Cover ... a magnificent synthesis of garden science, original garden research, and agricultural history. It shows us how to garden like our ancestors gardened - how to grow all our family's food with just hand labor, with just four basic hand tools, and with little or no electricity or irrigation. -- Carol Deppe, Ph.D., author of Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's and Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving. The decline of cheap oil and the threat of harder times to come is prompting people to grow more food themselves. But currently popular intensive vegetable gardening methods depend on cheap oil, requiring high inputs of water, fertility and organic matter. Prior to the 1970s, home food growing used more land because wider plant spacing reduces the need for irrigation and requires lower levels of soil fertility to be productive -- and well-spaced plants can be weeded rapidly and conveniently with hand tools while standing upright. But these efficient systems have been largely forgotten. Gardening When It Counts helps readers rediscover these traditional low-input gardening methods in their quest to produce healthy and affordable food. 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 square feet of garden land can halve their food costs in most climates using just the odd bucketful of household waste water, a few hand tools, and a few hundred dollars per year spent on supplies and seeds -- working just an average of two hours a day during the peak growing season. Helpfully illustrated, it covers a host of material including: Vegetables ranked by how difficult they are to grow Root systems as the key to gardening mastery Seeds, spacing and irrigation Home made organic fertilizer that really works How to choose, use and sharpen hand tools Compost making, root-cellaring and irrigation Chemical-free handling of insects and diseases. Designed for readers with no experience, yet an eye-opener for even the seasoned gardener, Gardening When It Counts returns the backyard food garden to center stage for uncertain times ahead. ... 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 television and author of If You Make The Rules, How Come You're Not Boss? Steve Solomon is a well-known west coast gardening guru and author of eight previous books. The founder of Territorial Seed Company, he has taught Master Gardener and Urban Farm classes at the University of Oregon in Eugene. His book, Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades has appeared in five editions since 1980.