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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review "The Resilient Gardener"

There are hundreds if not thousands of books on growing your own food.  However, almost all of them lack the vital understanding that as humans, we do not live off vegetables and fruits alone.  While these things are important to us, the complete lack of focus on calorie crops, specifically in books about homesteading is amazing.  We need to have crops that provide energy and vital nutrients first, and must have them in a way that we do not suffer from deficiency diseases as so many farmers around the world still do.

Perhaps the though is that Calorie crops are easy enough to grow that no instruction is needed.  Or perhaps because in the U.S. these crops are cheap enough that even a homesteader would be able to purchase them.  However, with the emphasis on preparedness and resiliency that we see among homesteaders, preppers, or even locavores, it is important to understand the role that main crops play in our diets.

This is where The Resilient Gardener shines.  Its subtitle is Food production and self-reliance in uncertain times.  Whether you think of climate change, erosion, overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, peak oil, or any number of other scenarios, these are uncertain times.  Carol Deppe does a masterful job of showing the many ways that we as gardeners can address our growing concerns on food security. 

One of the great things about this book is that it is personal.  Carol has a gluten allergy and so rather than focusing on Wheat as many in the U.S. would, she focuses on Gluten free crops.  These are the three sisters (corn, beans, squash) along with potatoes and eggs.  The three sisters were the base crops of many Native American cultures, and all three can be grown in a poly culture if you want.  Potatoes are tricky because we have all heard tales of how the potato famine ruined Ireland because of over reliance on potatoes as a food crop.  However, it was over reliance on one crop, rather than use of that crop that led to the famine.  Eggs provide fairly cheap protein and vitamins and help to round out the diet of these main crops. 

Carol Deppe does not simply focus on how these crops grow, but she also points out how these crops can be adjusted to suit the climate, and to address changes in the local conditions.  She truly focuses on how gardeners can become more self reliant and less impacted by things like weather, drought, or even natural disasters.  With beautiful stories and dozens of tips and tricks, this is truly a book to be on any homesteader's bookshelf. 

The Resilient Gardener
Carol Deppe
323 pages
Chelsae Green Publishing

You can purchase the book here

Live a Hands On Life

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