The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year-Round Vegetable Production Using Deep-Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses (Anglais) Broché – 15 avril 2009
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One caveat: if you grow veggies on 1/4 acre or more you're going to like this book more than if you grow veggies on a small lot (less than 100 sq. ft), on a balcony, or in containers. The reader will have to scale down significantly the concepts in this book. I don't think it's impossible; but it is more work for the reader. also, this is not a how-to book. Coleman gives some guidance but no step-by-step instructions.
The book focuses mostly on unheated hoop-houses, cold frames, and low tunnels (in a commercial setting but again, the concepts can be modified to fit the home grower). Also important to note the focus is on cool season crops (he mentions briefly some summer veggies growing in an unheated green house but I got the impression they were in preparation for the summer, i could be wrong). He may grow tomatoes in a green house all year because of his growing zone. Keep in mind that Coleman's experience is from working on a New England farm so one must modify his suggestions to apply his techniques outside of this growing zone. As a home gardener, I would not let the fact that the book's concepts are based on small commercial farming discourage me. again, though these are unheated greenhouses he's talking about. As inexpensive as he can make them.
One tiny thing that did bother me--Coleman mentions two way overpriced tools, seed planters that can be found at Johnny's Select Seeds. One seeder is nearly 600.00$ and the other seeder is 250.00$. Why do I mention this? Because at first glance, Coleman's organic labor intensive techniques or use of old hand tools may put people off (do a lot of people still use a scythe?). I know it did for me; because even at the home gardener level I'd like to increase my productivity. As a commercial grower I can see the benefit of the 6 row seeder outweighing it's 600.00$ price tag. Regardless of this tool, I think that many of the techniques are worth the effort (even if you just read them) in the long run, if you're looking to rely less on chemicals and more on organic methods. Coleman doesn't tell you to go out and buy these tools but he does encourage you to be creative. Hope this helps.
lastly, i think that Coleman's other book, the Four Season Harvest has many more specific details on greenhouse growing (unheated). I liked that book more than this one, this is why i say it's a great companion book. If i bought this book alone I may have been disappointed.
The three components to a successful winter harvest, according to Mr. Coleman are:
1) Cold-hardy vegetables
2) Succession planting
3) Protected cultivation
As it turns out, if we can protect our vegetables from the winter winds, we can grow many vegetables successfully, even in the snow. Some vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce and matte, are actually even sweeter and more tender in cooler temperatures. Think you surely have to provide supplementary lighting? Nope . . . not needed when grown in one of Mr. Coleman's "cold houses". He uses these cold houses even in the Maine winters of Zone 5.
You'll also learn about vertical production of tomatoes and how to create your own cold frame with quick hoops made of electrical conduit and 10-foot-wide spun-bonded row cover held down by sandbags. These hoops can cover the same area as a 22 by 48 foot greenhouse at 5% of the cost. Speaking of cost, a recent article in the AARP Magazine indicated that we can save $1,000.00 a year growing our own vegetables in a small garden. Now add your winter crop savings, and imagine what you'd save. Your Winter Wonderfarm will yield delicious, organic vegetables, improving your diet and fattening your wallet. Forget putting out the Christmas lights . . . just grow vegetables.
Lynette Fleming, Coauthor of Lunch Buddies: Buddy Up for a Better Diet