Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long (Anglais) Broché – 1 janvier 1990
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1. Eliot writes in a very conversational manner, and in so doing, he tells of some personal stories (particularly their visit to France). If you are a 'cold hard facts' kind of person and you're looking for a technical manual, you probably will not enjoy this book. It is not a very technical book, though it is filled with a lot of great information.
2. If you do not have much of a winter to speak of (say, possibly Zone 9 and above), then this book may not prove to be too applicable to your situation.
That's really the only negatives I can forecast for any of you readers out there! Now, on to my review.
This book is a fun, easy-to-read manual on how to successfully grow crops year- round, and focuses on the crops that work best in the fall/winter months. You don't have to have a ton of money to do this. Eliot describes both the usage of cold frames and/or 'low tunnels' AKA 'chenilles' in the garden. These methods are described in enough detail that even a novice can successfully utilize them. The lovely thing about these methods is that you are using the warmth of the sun to keep your crops happy and healthy, and not using external heating devices. The list of acceptable crops is pretty expansive. I have read and re-read this book many a winter's evening sitting in front of our fireplace. It's very inspirational!
While Eliot is in Maine (Zone 5, is it?) the book can be used for any US zone, with the exception of those lucky temperate zones which never experience a freeze. The tables can be converted to your own zone and your growing method (cold frame/low tunnels)and he explains how to do this. I am in Zone 8, which rarely freezes for more than a day or so, so instead of using cold frames I can instead use the low tunnels, which look like a miniature greenhouse. Mine are only about 2 feet tall in the center and were created with clear plastic sheeting (you can buy in a roll at most any home improvement store) and either PVC or steel rods which make up the 'hoops'. I have had GREAT success with my low tunnels. This is my second year to do this, and I'll never look back, thanks to Mr. Coleman.
Last year, by the end of winter, I was treated to chard, broccoli, onions, cabbages, and cauliflower. This year, I have planted many lettuces, more chard, green onions and other crops which can be harvested throughout winter rather than at the very end of it.
Some people have complained that they would need to drop a ton of cash and buy a greenhouse. I'm not sure where they would get that idea from this book, since it clearly tells you what to plant, when to plant it, and how to properly protect it...all without going into discussion about investing in a greenhouse. If you are in a cold zone (6 or less) and can't spend a lot on cold frames, I would imagine that you could use old single pane windows or even doors for the glass.
This book inspired our first hoop house, and it was planted in our zone 6 location in January. We thought it would be impossible to get things going that late in the season, but I have pictures of us with a green bowl of salad with a March snow covering the outside of the hoop house, sort of like Mr. Coleman's photo on the cover.
This method of gardening really does work. It truly does extend the harvest period to a four season harvest. His advice is sound as you will end up with healthy, viable seedlings and plants, and you truly will be able to fill your table without spending fossil fuels going to the grocery store for something that's been flown in from California or overseas. There is nothing like eating fresh rainbow chard, beets, and salad from your own garden in DECEMBER. And it is so much more fun to weed the garden when its not 90+ degrees outside:)
Mr. Coleman gives charts and graphs, showing which vegetables can survive the colder temperatures, and he also provides suggestions on when to plant these items so that you have successive harvests. Some of the seeds may be harder to locate from mainstream seed houses, but I always find that Gourmetseed has them.
In reading the book, his stories about tours in Europe and more, show that he has a tremendous sense of humor and a positive approach. I suspect he and his wife are the kind of people that it would be fun to sit and have a glass of wine with - good natured sorts. The world needs more of them:)
I commend Mr Coleman heartily. This method puts food on the table, provides enjoyment for year around gardening, and is organic to boot. WOW.
edit to add this thoughtful quote from Mr. Coleman's book:
"We live in a world that has practiced violence for generations - violence to other creatures, violence to the planet, violence to ourselves. Yet in our garden, where we have nurtured a healthy soil-plant community, we see a model of a highly successful, non-violent system where we participate in gentle biological diplomacy rather than war. The garden has more to teach us than just how to grow food.