In hard times people turn to their gardens for food. This recession is no exception for interest in vegetable gardening is at an all-time high. By careful planning, there are ways to grow vegetables year-round in cold climates.
Eliot Coleman is the leading expert on harvest extending techniques. His latest book is “The Winter Harvest Handbook.-Year-Round Vegetable Production Using Deep-Organic Techniques and Untreated Greenhouses.” It was released by Chelsea Green. This title features photos and illustrations by Barbara Damrosch.
As is the case with Coleman’s other books, this one emphasizes organic gardening techniques. This volume is based on the author’s experiences and research during the last 15 years or so.
If you’re concerned about the cost of heating greenhouses, this book offers innovative ways to grow hardy, cool season crops in unheated greenhouses. The author distinguishes between cold unheated greenhouses and minimally heated ones kept at around 35 degrees Fahrenheit. In the unheated version, Coleman provides an extra layer of protection for the vegetables by using cold frames within the greenhouses.
This title is suitable for beginners as well as experienced gardeners. For aspiring farmers, this guide is indispensable. It is based on the author’s experiences and the commercial production methods he uses. Coleman walks readers through the gardening year. He explains what to plant when—summer and winter crops. He also covers all of the basic garden techniques from preparing the soil to growing the crops. This title also covers organic ways to cope with weeds, diseases, pests, and insects.
There is also a chapter on choosing tools. For those interested in becoming organic farmers, Coleman also provides details on marketing and costs.
Those starting out will especially appreciate the section on greenhouse design. The author evaluates the various greenhouse styles. Some of these greenhouses are on wheels, which means they can be moved from one field to another. Coleman also provides details on growing techniques used in greenhouses, such as providing ventilation and crop rotation.
The appendices have an extensive discussion of climate with a number of hardiness and zone maps. There is also a helpful chart on the effect of temperature on vegetable crops. All in all, this book covers about 30 kinds of crops for summer and winter. This also has lists of the recommended varieties with a table showing the sowing dates for various crops. It also has lists of the recommended seed companies and garden catalogs.
There is also an informative chapter on the historical use of season extenders.