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. 


The New Farmers’ Almanac: A Collection of Essays for Beginners

What agrarian future can we realistically build together? This is a question the Greenhorns hope to answer in their latest book, The New Farmers’ Almanac 2015. Greenhorns is an organization for young farmers—a non-traditional grassroots network with the mission to promote, recruit and support the entering generation of new farmers. It exists to celebrate young […] Read More..

How to Achieve Resiliency Through Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

In today’s world the marketplace distorts our values and our dependence on petroleum keeps us from creating truly sustainable agriculture. So, how can we achieve true wealth and at the same time make society around us more resilient? The answer, Will Bonsall believes, is greater self-reliance in both how we grow our own food, and […] Read More..

Bramble On: The Ins and Outs of Growing Raspberries

Fresh, ripe raspberries picked straight from the garden in the morning. What could be a better start to your day? According to Michael Phillips, author of The Holistic Orchard, growing your own berries is entirely possible for anyone with a bit of space and a passion for the fruit. Brambles grow from the north to […] Read More..

Turning Meat into Money: How to Raise and Sell it Ethically

The consumer demand for grassfed, pasture-raised, and antibiotic-free meats is on the rise, putting farmers and ranchers in a unique position to make a decent living on meat that is produced ethically. But, how exactly do you turn meat into money without resorting to the large-scale industrial techniques of today’s confinement-operations? Look no further than […] Read More..

How to Grow Strawberries Indoors

It’s strawberry shortcake season, which means strawberry harvesting season. But for those of you with no outdoor space for gardens, fear not—you can plant, weed, and harvest all from the comfort of your own home! That’s right: it is possible to grow strawberries indoors, from small spaces. According to R. J. Ruppenthal, author of Fresh […] Read More..