Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

In Season: Book addresses gardening challenges for the 21st century

The article  below appeared originally online at the Statesman Journal about Carol Deppe’s new book The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times.

I recently was asked if I was familiar with local gardening guru Carol Deppe’s new book “The Resilient Gardener” (Chelsea Green Publishing Co., 2010).

The name was vaguely familiar, but I had not heard of the book. Oregon State University’s bookstore had it in stock, so I bought it. (Please don’t tell my wife I purchased another gardening book).

There really is no substitute for a regional authority. Deppe is a local gardener and plant breeder with a PhD in biology from Harvard University.

There are 12 chapters that run the gamut from “Gardening in an Era of Wild Weather and Climate,” which is chapter 3, to separate chapters on corn, beans and potatoes. I jumped to the one on wild weather and climate change. Deppe presents several points concerning climate change: Historically we have had radical shifts in climate regime both on a local level as well as global.

She makes a point that the local change can have a greater implication and impact upon our gardening habits, such as colder arctic air becoming the norm as opposed to an increase of a few degrees globally.

I particularly liked the part about how war, famine and climate change in the Middle Ages led to some wholesale changes in agriculture. Grain was the primary grain being grown in the 14th century. The little ice age that lasted from 1300 to 1850 changed all that. Grains do not like the cool, wet weather that persisted for years. The resulting famine, coupled with wars, encouraged the peasant farmers to diversify. They did this by growing vegetables, root crops, fruits, pasture and forage crops. Legumes such as peas and beans became more common, as well as raising forage for livestock. Animals became much more integral to farm production than they previously were. Rotation of crops became more common.

Does all this sound a bit familiar? Well it should; this is the agricultural model our forebears brought from Europe to America.

I’ll continue to share Deppe’s vision in future columns. If you can’t wait like me, just buy the book.

— Al Shay, consulting horticulturist

 Read the original article here. 

Why You Need to Drink Wet-Hopped Beer Right Now

Wet-hopped beer is the ultimate in seasonal and local brews. It is made from fresh hops picked right off the bine in order to capture the aromatic hop flavor when it is most potent. The tricky part is fresh hops have virtually no shelf life, so brewers must spring into action as soon as the hops […] Read More..

A Simple Way to Grow Fresh Greens Indoors This Winter

Just because the temperatures have started to drop doesn’t mean you have to live without fresh greens until next Spring. With author and gardener Peter Burke’s innovative method of growing soil sprouts indoors, you can grow nutrient-dense greens all year long at a fraction of the cost of buying at market. Burke’s new book, Year-Round Indoor Salad […] Read More..

A Day in the Life of a Homesteader

As Homesteading Month comes to a close, we take a look at what it means to live the homesteading life every day. Read through the question and answer below and be sure to check out any of the previous articles you might have missed:Why Acquiring Land Presents a Challenge for New Homesteaders Homesteading Q&A: Solutions […] Read More..

Go Lean: How To Eliminate Waste and Increase Efficiency on the Farm

Using the words “factory” and “farm” in the same sentence may seem sacrilegious, but today’s young farmers like author Ben Hartman are discovering that the same sound business practices apply whether you produce cars or carrots.In his new book The Lean Farm, Hartman demonstrates how applying lean principles—originally developed by the Japanese automotive industry—to farming practices […] Read More..

Why Acquiring Land Presents a Challenge for New Homesteaders

More and more often, young people are turning away from cities and urban life in order to live off the land and even start farms of their own. But while many have the desire to grow food for themselves and/or others, acquiring land, and the financial burden that comes with it, presents a difficult challenge […] Read More..