Thursday, May 21, 2009

The most mind-boggling gardening book ever!

About three years ago, my husband and I cleaned out a room to make way for our new baby. It was basically wall to wall books. We then went to used book stores to sell our books. That is when we made a discovery that, being the book lovers that we were (and still are), astounded us. Used books are worthless! We resolved then and there to stop buying books (and only get books from the library)! We amended our resolution shortly after to: only buy books that we thought would be used often enough that it would be inconvenient to get from the library.

So why am I telling you this? Because I am in the process of reading the most mind-boggling gardening book ever! I am SO impressed with this book in fact that I decided that this will be my new way of gardening. And even beyond that? I decided to buy the book and the other books written by the same author as well. That is how impressed I am!

The book: THE WINTER HARVEST HANDBOOK by Eliot Coleman.

Mister Coleman, as far as I can tell is a gardener turned farmer. He lives in the state of Maine (so a very similar climate to ours) and grows vegetables year round on his farm in unheated green house. He explains in his book that he has always loved reading gardening books. Now, some years ago, he read that the city of Paris used to be completely self-sufficient in it's vegetable production. He new that Paris had the same amount of winter light hours that his garden got during the winter so it gave him an idea. He wondered if the plants that grew over there during the winter could grow over here during the winter. It's colder here, but we get the same amount of sun. So off he went to Europe to visit winter gardens.

He found out that only specific vegetables grew during the winter in Europe. The next logical step was to try growing them here in cold frames. It worked! Unfortunately, he found that digging cold frames out of the snow was a bit inconvenient, so he decided to put a green house over his frames. This turned out to be a stroke of genius! Now he farms during the winter with much bigger green houses. Inside, he now uses spun row covers instead of cold frames. Oh! And this is all done using organic gardening techniques!

Like I said, this is going to be my new way of gardening!

Green building, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


  1. I noticed that you have a few ads on your site but that this book didn't link to anything. I have found the Amazon associates ( to be a really good program. When you have a book like this that you love and want to recommend you can add a link that will take people straight to Amazon with the details of the book and if they buy you get a commission. So you benefit and the reader does too as they don't have to search or anything to get more detail on the book.

    I am not sure if this is the kind of comment that you were looking for so will understand if you don't publish - but I couldn't find a way to contact you directly.

  2. Thanks for the pointer, I'll have to look into that.

  3. We have the "Four-Season Harvest" book by E. Coleman. There a lot of good things in this book even beyond the season extending parts. We will try to do more gardening this way to have a much longer fresh harvest. I was also happy that his climate is similar to ours.

    The other topics we will try to brush up on are food storage and preservation - another way to extend what we produce for ourselves.

    I hope all your projects are productive!

  4. I'm going to read the "Four Season Harvest" book next. He points back to it a few times in his latest book. He also refers back a few times to "The New Organic Grower" so that is also on my list of books to read.

    As for season extension, I don't do any now, but I think I'm going to go all out at the next house.