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The coffee is already made, Jack is still asleep, George is off to school … sounds like the perfect time to catch up on some reading. Sounds like the perfect time, but it is not. Alas, we have an appointment over the lunch hour, so must spend time on other activities this morning.
Jack tried to convince me, yesterday, this meant we had no time for school today. He tried. And failed. Much to his disappointment. “This is one benefit of home schooling, Jack. We can make it work with whatever our day brings.”
I highly doubt he sees this as very high on his list of reasons he likes being schooled at home.
After spending years gardening in various ways, assuming I knew it all, I have come to realized the error of my ways. I have wasted money and time trying to recreate the wheel. Yes, the lessons stuck, but so does the memory of frustration and disappointment when things were not working.
Spending a few hours reading about other’s experiences gardening, their lessons learned, both good and bad, can pay off in big ways. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Here are three books, all with high ranking reviews, which seems to fit the motto – “learn from those who have gone before you.”
Compact Farms: 15 Proven Plans for Market Farms on 5 Acres or Less; Includes Detailed Farm Layouts for Productivity and Efficiency has 4.3 stars and is currently a #1 Best Seller. The reviews, both in print versions and ebook versions, mention the great photos and plans laid out in the book.
“Small is beautiful, and these 15 real farm plans show that small-scale farmers can have big-time success. Compact Farms is an illustrated guide for anyone dreaming of starting, expanding, or perfecting a profitable farming enterprise on five acres or less.”
Straw Bale Gardens Complete: Breakthrough Vegetable Gardening Method – All-New Information On: Urban & Small Spaces, Organics, Saving Water – Make Your Own Bales With or Without Straw has 710 reviews and rated at 4.7 stars. I have not personally gardened this way, but have seen a good friend of mine use this method with success.
I can see where this method would be useful in overcoming various challenges – slugs, wet areas, limited water supply, poor soils, etc. It is one method of gardening I plan to research more and possibly may utilize this year.
Though it says it is for “tight urban settings” at least one reviewer used it on a larger rural garden where the soils were extremely poor, and reaped great results.
“Straw Bale Gardens Complete contains all of the original information that has set the gardening world on fire. But it also goes much deeper, with nearly 50 pages of all-new advice and photos on subjects such as growing in a tight urban setting, making your straw bale garden completely organic, and using new fertilizers and conditioning products.”
The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible, 2nd Edition: Discover Ed’s High-Yield W-O-R-D System for All North American Gardening Regions: Wide Rows, Organic Methods, Raised Beds, Deep Soil has a rating of 4.8 stars and 508 reviews.
This sounds like a great overall reference book for your garden. The author is from Vermont and has a large (2,000 sq ft) garden.
“Everything you loved about the first edition of The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible is still here: friendly, accessible language; full-color photography; comprehensive vegetable specific information in the A-to-Z section; ahead-of-its-time commitment to organic methods; and much more.”