The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times

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Chelsea Green Publishing, Oct 5, 2010 - Gardening - 384 pages

Scientist/gardener Carol Deppe combines her passion for organic gardening with newly emerging scientific information from many fields — resilience science, climatology, climate change, ecology, anthropology, paleontology, sustainable agriculture, nutrition, health, and medicine. In the last half of The Resilient Gardener, Deppe extends and illustrates these principles with detailed information about growing and using five key crops: potatoes, corn, beans, squash, and eggs.

In this book you’ll learn how to:

•Garden in an era of unpredictable weather and climate change

•Grow, store, and use more of your own staple crops

•Garden efficiently and comfortably (even if you have a bad back)

•Grow, store, and cook different varieties of potatoes and save your own potato seed

•Grow the right varieties of corn to make your own gourmet-quality fast-cooking polenta, cornbread, parched corn, corn cakes, pancakes and even savory corn gravy

•Make whole-grain, corn-based breads and cakes using the author’s original gluten-free recipes involving no other grains, artificial binders, or dairy products

•Grow and use popbeans and other grain legumes

•Grow, store, and use summer, winter, and drying squash

•Keep a home laying flock of ducks or chickens; integrate them with your gardening, and grow most of their feed.

The Resilient Gardener is both a conceptual and a hands-on organic gardening book, and is suitable for vegetable gardeners at all levels of experience. Resilience here is broadly conceived and encompasses a full range of problems, from personal hard times such as injuries, family crises, financial problems, health problems, and special dietary needs (gluten intolerance, food allergies, carbohydrate sensitivity, and a need for weight control) to serious regional and global disasters and climate change. It is a supremely optimistic as well as realistic book about how resilient gardeners and their vegetable gardens can flourish even in challenging times and help their communities to survive and thrive through everything that comes their way — from tomorrow through the next thousand years. Organic gardening, vegetable gardening, self-sufficiency, subsistence gardening, gluten-free living.


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User Review  - Turrean - LibraryThing

Fascinating book. Wish I could give half stars. I take away a half star for focusing the book and her advice almost solely on the Pacific Northwest. For a book of the size and price of thus one, I'd ... Read full review

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Carol Deppe is a scientist. She has a BS in zoology from the University of Florida and a PhD in biology from Harvard. She's also a gardener. So when she puts together a book about gardening in uncertain times, you can bet that it's well researched and has a lot of good information in it.
I picked up the book because it addresses exactly what I wanted to know about gardening for uncertain times- not knowing what is going to happen in the future is precisely why I'm trying to teach myself to grow our food in good times (if you can call this recession a good time). I think a lot of people are gardening for the same reasons; from what I've read, all the stats say that there has been a huge increase in the number of families that are vegetable gardening. That's why I think this book is really important.
In it, she covers the Little Ice Age (1300-1850) that occurred at the end of a warming trend since the last ice age. During the Little Ice Age, weather became obviously much colder, but also erratic. She cites strategies that farmers from that time developed that are relevant now, and gives a very good argument why gardeners may be more important for feeding people in the uncertain future than farmers with their mono-crop, petroleum-based agriculture, which is fairly certain to fail. I don't know about you, but I think that our weather is getting erratic. It's certainly getting more severe.
So the book covers how to grow staple crops in times of erratic and wild weather and climate change and strategies for dealing with that, how to grow with little or no irrigation, how to use tools more comfortably so that you can get done what needs doing without killing yourself, how to customize your garden so that you can deal with special dietary needs, and how to keep a laying flock and use them in the garden as well as grow most of their feed.
I'm not going to say that this book changed my life- I did that already- but I will say that now that I've jumped in it, this book is like having a gardening mentor to help me learn what the hell I'm doing out there. She will save me a lot of mistakes.
She also covers saving your seed and why it's important to hoard some of it in your freezer, and gives a little information on how to select seed that you would want to save and how to pollinate in times of few bees.
If you don't want to or can't buy this book and add it to your bookshelf on homesteading subjects, at least look for it at your local library and read it. Read the notes at the back as well- there's a lot of information in there, too. In my own library on homesteading subjects, this will be the book to which I'll return and reread the most- it's just that good.


33 Golden Gardening Rules
Gardening in an Era of Wild Weather and Climate Change
Diet and Food Resilience
Labor and Exercise
Water and Watering
Soil and Fertility
The Laying Flock
Squash and Pumpkins
Seed Companies and Sources
About the Author

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About the author (2010)

Oregon plant breeder Carol Deppe, author of The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, holds a PhD in biology from Harvard University and specializes in developing public-domain crops for organic growing conditions, sustainable agriculture, and human survival for the next thousand years. Carol is author of The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times (Chelsea Green, 2010), Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, 2nd ed. (Chelsea Green, 2000), Tao Te Ching: A Window to the Tao through the Words of Lao Tzu (Fertile Valley Publishing, 2010), and Taoist Stories (Fertile Valley Publishing, 2014). Visit for articles and further adventures.

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