Urban gardening: Spreading the food revolution. Wrapping an event-5

It’s been two weeks since our event, Virtual Lecture Series-Urban Gardening: A food revolution. I am very excited about the connections I have made with my fellow gardeners. One of the things that has stayed with me from our event is a quote from Jesse DuBois’s TED talk, The Urban Farming Revolution. He said, “To have a garden is to have a future.” DuBois didn’t take credit for the quote and I was not able to find an author, but it has stuck with me. Because it reminds me that planting a garden is literally planning for your future. Not only the near future, but your children’s future as well. Many of the things I learned about gardening came from my grandmother. I would help her in the garden every year. At the time, I didn’t care for the work, even though I appreciated the outcome. When I started a garden of my own, I realized how much she had taught me, even though I didn’t think I had been listening. Her garden influenced my future. My garden is influencing my children’s future. How powerful is that?

Many of the people I met at our event have a similar story. Now it is our turn to give others a story of their own, and a story to pass down. How powerful would it be if everyone grew some of their own food? We can help spread this message, we can grow the urban garden movement and give others the power to change their future.

How do we keep the excitement alive that we felt when we were at the event together? One way is for us to organize a  monthly get-together. It could be at the library or at someone’s home. We can meet and discuss events, the weather, seeds, planting schedules, etc. It will give us a chance to just connect and learn from other urban gardeners. While there is no shortage of advice online, there is nothing like learning first hand from someone else. It is also a chance to bring a guest, maybe someone who is interested in gardening but hasn’t taken the plunge yet. A room full of gardeners just might convince him or her to join the movement. This group can provide urban gardeners with a support system, but more importantly, can become the voice of urban gardening in our community. We can raise awareness by speaking out about the importance of urban gardening.

Everyone that came to the event was asked to give an email if they wanted to be contacted about other events. I will be sending out an email to organize another gathering for next month. I hope you will join us to keep the momentum going.

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Urban gardening: Join the food revolution. Wrapping an event-4

After our 1st annual, Virtual Lecture Series-Urban Gardening: A food revolution, many people have asked me, “What do we next, how do we promote urban gardens?” I think we can find the answer to that question in the inspirational TED talks we presented at the event.

Roger Doiron urged people to start a “subversive plot,” by planting gardens. As a advocate for new technologies, sustainability and the urban garden movement, Doiron is passionate about helping others grow their own food to live a more healthy life. In his TED talk, A subversive plot: how to grow a revolution in your backyard, He talked about how a garden gives people power over their health and pocketbook. He notes the importance of a garden to influence others, to inspire others to start a garden of their own.

Doiron stresses that gardens grow good food; food that is safe, food that is healthy, food that is gorgeous, and delicious. Gardens also grow healthy kids and families. Kids are drawn to nature and love good food when exposed to it. Gardens create economic savings for families as well. Most families will save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each year when they grow a garden.

These are the reasons we must join Doiron to promote urban gardening. How do we do that? We must continue to grow our own food and share with others why we are doing it. Talk to your friends and neighbors and use social media to share why you are passionate about urban gardening. By sharing your own stories and experiences about gardening, you can inspire others who may have never considered they could grow food in the city. It is also important to build a community of gardeners in our area. My next blog will feature ways we can work together to support each other and promote urban gardening throughout our community.

Inspirational urban farms

With six to ten inches of snow falling outside, it’s a great day for writing, reflecting and thinking about your garden for next season. One of the best ways to do that is to plan what you want from your garden and look for inspiration. For this blog, I thought I would share with you a few of the urban farms that inspire me. Two are large non-profits that are accomplishing amazing things, one is a family-owned and operated urban farm. Each has an incredible story to share.

Growing Power

Growing Power was launched in 1993 by Will Allen. He owned some farmland in Milwaukee and wanted to help teens who needed employment. What began as a small operation to help his community and get some help on his land, has become a large non-profit organization that includes training in the following: acid-digestion, anaerobic digestion for food waste, bio-phyto remediation and soil health, aquaculture closed-loop systems, vermiculture, small and large-scale composting, urban agriculture, permaculture, food distribution, marketing, value-added product development, youth education, community engagement, participatory leadership development, and project planning.

The Milwaukee location now includes over 20,000 vegetable plants in addition to fish, goats, rabbits, chickens, ducks and bees. They have expanded to several Milwaukee locations, and farms in Madison and Chicago. They host workshops and a yearly conference to help other urban farmers and non-profits grow their organizations. Growing Power is an amazing organization that has made a real difference in their community.

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Growing Power’s 3rd Annual Good Food Revolution 5K Walk/Run to raise funds to combat urban food deserts in the heart of Milwaukee. (photo courtesy of http://www.growingpower.org)

The Urban Homestead

In 1985, Jules Dervaes moved his family from their ten-acre country home to a 1/10 acre lot in Pasadena, California. Instead of giving up their country lifestyle, they adapted and have created a premier urban farm that is self-sustaining and a model for urban farmers around the country and the world. The farm is maintained by Dervaes and his three adult children. They grow over 7,000 pounds of produce each year. They sell the produce through their customer supported agriculture (CSA) memberships and front porch farmstand. The family raises bees, chickens and goats to maintain their self-sufficient lifestyle. Over the years they have installed alternative energy products to power their home and run their vehicle off of home-brewed bio diesel fuel.

In 2001, they launched the blog, “Little Homestead in the City,” to share their experiences with others. Since then, The Urban Homestead has been featured on thousands of blogs TV appearances and appeared in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.

For anyone interested in urban gardening or sustainable living, the Urban Homestead is a great place for inspiration and motivation.

urban-homestead-backyard

Backyard garden of The Urban Homestead (courtesy of http://www.urbanhomestead.org)

Windy City Harvest Youth Farm

The Windy City Harvest Youth Farm is an initiative sponsored by the Chicago Botanic Gardens featuring four farms that employ 90 teens from low-income communities every year. The teens learn all aspects of the agricultural process including crop planting and harvesting, marketing and selling their produce, beekeeping and even cooking the produce they grow. The produce is sold in farmer’s markets throughout the city. The teens in the program learn valuable skills, not only in agriculture, but in teamwork and business as well. Many of the teens go on to pursue careers in urban agriculture, a growing movement in the Chicago area.

Since its inception in 2003, the program has:

  • Provided after-school and summer jobs for more than 600 youth
  • Harvested and sold more than 100,000 pounds of freshly grown produce at farm stands and in neighborhoods identified as food deserts through nutrition benefit programs (Illinois Link cards, senior coupons, and Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC, vouchers)
  • Educated more than 400 moms at six WIC clinics on the power of plants to help keep their babies healthy
  • Trained more than 120 ambassadors (former staff, interns, and trainees) to build their own programs in communities all across the nation, teaching about the power of plants to sustain and enrich life
  • Collaborated with more than 35 community partners, including the Lake County Forest Preserve District, the Chicago Park District, NeighborSpace, Chicago Public Schools, After School Matters, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, Lawndale Christian Health Center, and the Quad Communities Development Corporation
  • Presented the Youth Farm’s service-learning model at dozens of local and national events
  • Been recognized as a national best practices youth development program by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and by the Pathways Project, an initiative of the Family Resiliency Center at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

(courtesy of http://www.chicagobotanic.org/urbanagriculture/youthfarm)

As you can see, this partnership between urban agriculture and youth development has been very successful and made a real difference in the lives of many students and adults alike. It is a model worth copying around the country.

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Participants in the Windy City Harvest Youth Farm. (photo courtesy of http://www.chicagobotanic.org/urbanagriculture/youthfarm

 

 

 

Urban gardening: Creating the next food revolution. Wrapping an event-3

Our 1st annual Virtual Lecture Series-Urban Gardening: A food revolution was a great success. Over 25 community members joined us to discuss the urban agriculture movement. Our event featured two TED talks with urban gardening enthusiasts Roger Doiron and Jesse DuBois. Both are national speakers who advocate for an urban gardening movement in our country. “This was a wonderful opportunity to meet with other city residents who are interested in learning more about urban agriculture. I was really impressed with the TED talks and the local expert information,” said South Bend resident Breanna McCall.

We also featured two local experts, Dr. Edwin Joseph and Hannah Scrafford at the event to discuss urban gardening in our community and answer audience questions. “What a pleasure it was to see so many people here tonight to talk about urban gardening. There is a hunger for knowledge about growing food, and we must provide local resources to assist people,” said Dr. Joseph.

Community members in attendance were very enthusiastic about urban gardening. Some people already had a garden and wanted to learn how to grow more produce on their limited city lots. Others wanted to know the basics of starting a garden. There were many questions about city ordinances on growing food in front lawns in addition to backyards. “City properties must maintain a front yard that is not in violation of codes for trash or a public nuisance,” said Hannah Scrafford, “As long as you don’t infringe on your neighbor’s property, you are free to grow produce in your front yard in the city of South Bend.”

Scrafford also answered questions about the resources available in South Bend. “Local gardeners can benefit from the free compost and mulch available from the city. It’s a great resource for gardeners to access for free. In addition, Unity Gardens hosts free gardening classes starting in January to help our community grow more food for themselves.”

After hosting this event, I am very excited about the future of urban gardening here in South Bend. I spoke with many people who would like to continue these types of educational and networking opportunities. I intend to keep this conversation going, stay tuned for more information!

Urban gardening: Your city, your food. Wrapping an Event-Exercise 2

I hope you will join us tomorrow for our 1st annual Virtual Lecture Series-Urban Gardening: A food revolution, featuring national speakers Roger Doiron and Jesse DuBois via TED talk, and local experts Dr. Edwin Joseph and Hannah Scrafford. We will present an evening of conversation about urban gardening-nationally and in our own community.

To put it simply, urban gardening is growing food within a city. While it’s not a new concept, it is a growing movement across the country. More people are becoming concerned about the way our food is grown and transported and want to provide fresher food for their families.

Our first presentation will be will feature Roger Doiron’s TED Talk,  A subversive plot: how to grow a revolution in your own backyard.

roger-doironphoto courtesy of Roger Doiron-Facebook

Doiron believes that each of us can become part of the food revolution by creating our own garden in whatever space we have. He is a free-lance writer and public speaker advocating for gardening and sustainable food systems. His articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Organic Gardening magazine, Mother Earth News, and Saveur. His ideas and work have been featured in the Chicago Tribune, International Herald Tribune, New York Times and the Washington Post.

“Gardening is a subversive activity. Food is a form of energy. It’s what our body runs on, but it’s also a form of power. When we encourage people to grow some of their own food, we are encouraging them to take power into their own hands. Power over their diet, power over their health and some power over their pocketbooks.” Roger Doiron

Our second presentation will be Jess DuBois’s TED Talk,  The urban farming revolution.

jesse-duboisphoto courtesy of Jesse DuBois-Facebook

DuBois moved to Los Angeles to become a screenwriter. He was motivated instead to launch the Farmscape company, dedicated to creating urban gardens in the city when he learned how unsustainable our national food system was.

“When I figured out how this country feeds and farms, I got really upset. It turns out that America’s food supply is owned and managed by a small cadre of enormous corporations. And news flash, they’re reckless with our scarce national resources.” Jesse DuBois

These two presentations will be followed by a discussion about the importance of urban gardening, and how you can join this movement. We will be joined by:

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Dr. Edwin Joseph, Ph.D., Director of Sustainability Studies, IUSB. He is an expert in Geographic Information Systems and uses that expertise to think critically about places to improving sustainability outcomes. Dr. Joseph completed his Ph.D., at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He formerly taught at Eastern Michigan University and Grand Valley State University. Dr. Joseph has extensive urban agriculture experience and has worked on projects across the world.

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Hannah Scrafford, Team Leader at Unity Gardens– a non-profit, pick-for-free community garden. Ms. Scrafford has a degree from Cornell in Global Agriculture, a minor in soil. She has a certificate in Permaculture, and is a Master Naturalist.

Feel free to send us any comments or questions that you would like our local experts to talk about. See you tomorrow at 7:00 pm, at the St. Joseph Public Library-Virginia Tutt branch for our 1st Annual Virtual Lecture Series- Urban Gardening: A food revolution. 

Want to learn more about urban gardening? Wrapping an Event-1

Virtual Lecture Series-Urban Gardening: A food revolution

In the Bend Urban Farm is excited to announce our first annual Virtual Lecture Series. This series will kick off on Thursday, December 1 at 7:00 pm, at the St. Joseph Public Library-Virginia Tutt branch.

Join us as we hear from two nationally known urban farming professionals, via TED talks. Stay after for a discussion about urban gardening and farming. This is a great opportunity to hear from local experts in urban gardening and network with other like-minded community members. This event is free to the public and a reception will follow.

Our first Virtual Lecture Series will feature TED talks by:

Roger Doiron

roger-doironphoto courtesy of Roger Doiron-Facebook

Roger Doiron is the founder of Kitchen Gardeners International (KGI), now known as Seed Money, a non-profit that seeks to help organizations raise money to create community urban garden projects. KGI and Doiron led the “Eat the View” movement in 2008 that encouraged the White House to return part of the lawn to a garden. The campaign was successful with staff and First Lady Michelle O’Bama breaking ground in 2009.

Doiron is an advocate for new policies, technologies, investments, and fresh thinking about the role of gardens. He is also a writer, photographer, and public speaker.

Jesse DuBois

jesse-duboisphoto courtesy of Jesse DuBois-Twitter

Jesse DuBois is an urban agriculturist. He moved to Los Angeles to become a screenwriter, but instead got caught up in reshaping the food system. He is the Co-Founder and currently serves as the Chief Eclectic Officer for two start-ups: Farmscape, an urban farming maintenance company, and Agrisaurus, a web-based polyculture gardening assistant. Horticulturally, he is a big fan of the nightshade family.

Local experts include:

josephedwinsqc281photo courtesy of IUSB

Dr. Edwin Joseph, Ph.D., Director of Sustainability Studies, IUSB. He is an expert in Geographic Information Systems and uses that expertise to think critically about places with application to improving sustainability outcomes. Dr. Joseph completed his Ph.D., at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He formally taught at Eastern Michigan University and Grand Valley State University. Dr. Joseph has extensive urban agriculture experience and has worked on projects across the world.

hannahphoto courtesy of Unity Gardens

Hannah Scrafford, Team Leader at Unity Gardens– a pick-for free, non-profit community garden here in South Bend.
Ms. Scrafford has a degree from Cornell in Global Agriculture, and a minor in soil. She has a certificate in Permaculture, and is a Master Naturalist.

Please join us for a lively discussion of urban gardening issues here in our community, and across the nation.

Big yields, small spaces-best crops to grow in buckets.

Do you live in an apartment or a place with a small yard? Maybe you have always wanted to garden, but don’t have the space to do so. There is a solution to your problem: five gallon bucket gardening. They are great for people with limited space, plus buckets provide a few advantages over a traditional garden. You will have little weeding to do, and you can grow a variety of plants in a small space.

All you need to get started are some five gallon buckets, rocks, peat moss, planting soil and compost. It is best if you if you can drill a few holes in the bottom of the buckets for drainage. I then layer a few pieces of cardboard over the holes so the soil cannot escape. Put some rocks on top of the cardboard to help with drainage as well. Then mix your peat moss, compost and soil and you are ready to plant. Many plants do well in five gallon buckets that will also do well in shallow containers including lettuce, kale and greens. I plant those in smaller containers and save my buckets for plants that need deeper spaces. Here are my some of my favorite crops to grow in buckets.

  1. Carrots

Carrots are easy to grow in buckets. Choose smaller varieties that do not grow a long root. Heritage varieties are often sweeter and smaller than standard varieties. I love trying a new one every season. In the supermarket, all you will see are orange carrots, and most will have little flavor left. But there are so many varieties you have probably never seen. Carrots come in white, yellow, orange, red and purple. Try growing a different color carrot and blow your children’s minds!

2. Radishes

Radishes also come in a variety of shapes and colors including white, pink, red, purple, and black. Bet you’ve never seen that one! They are a great spring crop, choose a variety that matures before the summer heat takes over. You will then be able to plant something else after you harvest your radishes. Pink Beauty and Easter egg are two of my favorites with a slightly sweeter flavor than most radishes.

3. Bush beans

Bush Beans have a shorter growth time than pole beans and grow about a  foot tall and around. This makes them the perfect size for bucket growing. They also produce well all season, so you will get a lot of beans from each plant. Green beans can also be yellow or purple, depending on the variety you pick. Kentucky Wonder is one of my favorite traditional green beans. Try Dragon’s Tongue as well, it is a creamy-purple mix in color and is exceptionally juicy.

4. Peppers

Peppers are a native plant to the America’s. There are thousands of varieties in hundreds of shapes, sizes and colors. They range from sweet to dangerously hot. Peppers are easy to grow and will give you large yields. Most people are only familiar with a few types of peppers, so try growing something exotic to try a new flavor. I love too many kinds to list, but if you normally eat bell peppers, try sweet banana peppers and Greek pepperoncini peppers.

5. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are the number one home-grown crop. There is nothing like a fresh tomato, if you grow nothing else, grow tomatoes. Native to the America’s, tomatoes were once thought to be poisonous by the European settlers. Thankfully, we know better today. There are so many delicious varieties that you have probably never tastied, so explore seed catalogs and expand your tomato taste buds.Tomatoes vary in color including white, yellow, orange, pink, red, purple and striped. I love roma varieties for eating and also canning. Last season I grew Costoluto Genovese Tomatoes for the first time and loved their flavor. I take my own advice and try a new variety every season.

So if you don’t have room for a traditional garden, try bucket gardening. It’s fun, easy and you get to eat your rewards!tomatoes-in-buckets

Tomatoes and peppers growing strong.

Smart cities grow food: solving food security issues (op-ed)

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City hall in Madison, Wisconsin. Pick-for-free garden is on city property and is maintained by city workers and volunteers alike. Excess produce is donated to local food pantry. (photo courtesy of Kelly Haferman/Flickr)

The urban agriculture movement is growing across the country. One of the most important aspects of the movement may be the concept of public produce: growing food on city property for residents to pick for free. Progressive cities across the country such as Davenport, Provo, San Francisco, Baltimore and Seattle are ditching the ornamental flowers and instead planting produce.

As with many urban agriculture projects, the idea of growing food on municipal grounds may seem like a new concept, but it is not. In fact, a quick look at history may give us the inspiration for our gardening future. City vegetable gardens have helped supply food for residents during tough times such as the Depression of the 1890’s, the Great Depression, as well as during both World Wars. Victory Gardens of World War II were the most popular of these movements and by 1944, supplied the nation with 40 percent of its fresh vegetables.

While we are not facing a world war, our nation is facing a health crisis. Obesity rates have skyrocketed in the last thirty years, paralleling the prevalence of prepackaged, processed foods in our diet. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), two out of three American adults are overweight or obese. Only 25 percent of adults get the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Our children are facing grave health risks as well. The CDC reports  childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Being overweight and obesity are associated with a variety of dangerous health conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, many types of cancers, stroke and osteoarthritis.

Many urban residents lack the ability to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables because they live within food deserts-geographic areas typically in inner cities or very rural areas where access to affordable fruits and vegetables is severely limited due to a lack of grocery stores. With little access to fruits and vegetables, residents of food deserts often turn to convenience stores and fast food restaurants to feed their families. This food provides little nutrition and contributes to the obesity crisis.

Public produce is one way cities can contribute to the health and well-being of their residents. Utilizing unused public space in city parks, street medians and around public buildings, vegetable plants and fruit trees can contribute to the beauty of the city while providing residents with the opportunity to harvest fresh food. Investing in plants that produce food instead of annual decorative flowers will lower maintenance costs as well. Replacing decorative shrubs with fruit bushes such as blueberry or raspberry is a more productive use of tax dollars and can provide for the welfare of citizens as much as other city services such as clean drinking water, garbage collection, police protection, etc.

With food security a real problem for many city residents, it makes sense to grow food in city spaces. Public produce can improve citizen health, economic self-sufficiency, and increase community interactions. The amount of food that can be grown in small spaces is staggering. For example, one tomato plant can produce anywhere from eight to twelve pounds of tomatoes. It is time to revisit the Victory gardens of the past and bring back fruit and vegetables to our public lands.

Smart cities grow food-letter to the editor

Recently South Bend embarked on the “Smart Streets” project. According to the city’s website, the initiative is described as the following:

Smart Streets projects—which incorporate new curbs, sidewalks, street lights, and trees—also enhance the overall quality of life by contributing to a more vibrant atmosphere and attracting economic development.Smart Streets also come with big public health benefits. By making walking and biking safer and more convenient, it makes it much easier for people to build routine physical activity into their daily lives (https://smartstreets.southbendin.gov/).

With a focus on improving the quality of life for residents, now is the time for the city to take advantage of under utilized spaces in our parks, street medians and around public buildings to plant fruits and vegetables instead of expensive ornamental flowers and shrubs. Public produce promotes healthy eating and food security for city residents who may be struggling to provide food for their families. Cities across the nation are recognizing that free access to fruits and vegetables benefits the health and welfare of citizens. Just as the city provides clean drinking water, garbage collection, protection from crime, etc., providing plants that produce actual food instead of decoration would be a service to the residents of this great city.

Great books for winter inspiration

One of the best parts of winter is having time to read and plan for next year’s garden. I love curling up with a cup of hot tea and a great gardening book. There are literally hundreds of good books out there, read as many as you can. I thought I would tell you about a few of my favorite books, the ones I have purchased and use over and over again.

urban-farming-foxphoto courtesy of Amazon.com

URBAN FARMING: SUSTAINABLE CITY LIVING IN YOUR BACKYARD, IN YOUR COMMUNITY, AND IN THE WORLD. By Thomas J. Fox

This is a great book for any gardener, beginner or experienced veteran. It introduces readers to converting small spaces into valuable gardening options. Author Thomas J. Fox provides a solid foundation and justification for urban farming. The book also includes easy do-it-yourself plans to get started, and attempts to answer all the questions readers might have about urban gardening. It has a strong focus on sustainability practices to also reduce your carbon footprint while you are lowering your grocery bills by growing your own food. It is a very handy reference and my copy is well-worn.

 

the-market-gardenerphoto courtesy of Amazon.com

THE MARKET GARDENER: A SUCCESSFUL GROWER’S HANDBOOK FOR SMALL-SCALE ORGANIC FARMING. By Jean-Martin Fortier.

Have you ever considered becoming a small-scale farmer? Author Jean-Martin Fortier may just inspire you to consider it. His book lays out all the basics in running a small-yet profitable, farm operation. But do not let the title intimidate you. This is a great read even if you just want to improve your small urban garden. He provides real information from his own farm that is invaluable to gardeners on any scale. He includes charts on planting that I love and refer to every spring. He also has great insights into garden tools that many people would be unfamiliar with, yet can make a real difference in the time and energy you put into your garden. If you want to increase your yields, expand your garden or are considering a small-scale farm, this book is for you. I learn something new every time I read it and I use it as a reference guide often. I love this book and highly recommend it.

 

 

eliot-coleman-1photo courtesy of Amazon.com

THE NEW ORGANIC GROWER: A MASTER’S MANUAL OF TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES FOR THE HOME AND MARKET GARDENER. By Eliot Coleman.

This is the first of three books I am recommending by author Eliot Coleman. He is a farmer from Maine and this book published originally in 1989 is a must read for anyone who is interested in organic gardening. While his approach is designed for commercial small-scale farming, you do not need to be a farmer to gain incredible knowledge from Coleman. The book is full of great information from crop rotation to winter gardening. One of the things I love most about this book is learning the techniques Coleman has found successful on his own farm. He shares his success stories and even a few failures. He also includes information on tools he finds invaluable and that is very helpful for home gardeners who are looking to expand their tool knowledge.

 

eliot-coleman-2photo courtesy of Amazon.com

FOUR-SEASON HARVEST: ORGANIC VEGETABLES FROM YOUR HOME GARDEN ALL YEAR LONG. By Eliot Coleman.

In this book, author Eliot Coleman introduces the concept of gardening all year-long, including the long cold Maine winter. He travels to France to explore the way the French capture the winter sunshine to garden during the winter. He shares weather patterns and sunshine information to debunk old perceptions about what can be grown during winter. Coleman introduces new ideas about the feasibility of growing and harvesting crops year-round. After reading this book, you will be gazing at your garden with new eyes and plans for the future.

 

eliot-coleman-3photo courtesy of Amazon.com

THE WINTER HARVEST HANDBOOK: YEAR-ROUND VEGETABLE PRODUCTION USING DEEP-ORGANIC TECHNIQUES AND UNHEATED GREENHOUSES. By Eliot Coleman.

This book expands on the knowledge taught in Coleman’s previous books. It includes detailed techniques for winter gardening. This book focuses on growing fresh, organic produce using customized greenhouses. It provides details on greenhouse construction and maintenance, planting and harvesting schedules and crop management. Coleman’s research and his experimentation with over thirty crops on his farm provide reader’s with valuable information to expand their own garden production. He also includes marketing techniques for those interested in farming on a greater scale. This book is an incredible resource for gardeners who want to extend their growing season. I have been studying this book for about six months. If you are interested in growing more food for your family or starting your own farm business, this is a vital source of information. Eliot Coleman will inspire you to rethink what you can accomplish.

 

little-house-in-the-suburbsphoto courtesy of Amazon.com

LITTLE HOUSE IN THE SUBURBS: BACKYARD FARMING AND HOME SKILLS FOR SELF-SUFFICIENT LIVING. By Deanna Caswell and Daisy Siskin.

This is a great quirky book that has gardening information but also includes great tips on raising backyard animals such as bees, chickens and goats. In addition, the authors have recipes for dishes and also how-to’s on making many household items. If you are looking for ways to simplify your purchases and make more of the products your family currently uses, this is a great reference for you. The writing style is friendly and light in nature and I appreciate the author’s styles. They compliment each other, yet both bring great individual information to the book. This is a fun read and also inspires me to get creative during the winter with a few new recipes or ideas for my home.

Your local library is a great source for gardening books, but when you find one you really love, buy it. The gardening books I have are a constant source of knowledge, inspiration and motivation for me. They are now like good friends that I depend on. Happy winter reading!