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Gardening when it counts, when your life depends on it, when that is how you feed your family, when you can save money or need far less money in the kitchen – I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately.
What it takes to feed a family of five (almost six, now) goes beyond the basic kitchen garden and is more than we’re producing by a long shot. So, when I see a book written by a long-time gardener who has eaten from their own plot for some time, I pay attention.
Fortunately, I’ve had access to a couple of these books recently so I’m happy to share how they are changing the way we garden with you all, in the hopes that it can help you too. The partnering of these two recent books might just be changing the way we approach gardening.
Recently I noticed the author of Gardening When It Counts, Steve Solomon, wrote another book titled Gardening Without Irrigation, or Without Much, Anyway. That was the final shove I needed to ask our generous neighbor if I might borrow his copy.
Once I cracked it I found so many fundamental and completely crucial concepts to gardening that I’d never read in the oh-so-many other gardening books that I’ve flipped through. This book is all about practical, real advice for those who just need to grow some serious vegetables in less than ideal conditions. Concepts like fertigation, understanding root depths, and comparing heavy feeders versus light feeders have come in handy already for us in the summer garden.
But the one principle he puts forward that really stuck out to me was plant spacing and how it needs to be heavily reliant on the health of your soil and the amount of rain you generally receive. The multiple-page chart on this concept alone might be worth the cost of Gardening When It Counts, as we’ll be referencing it over and over.
Within the book this chart is lined up with four columns – from the most optimal, well-hydrated soil to our not-enough-organic-matter-still-recovering-from-a-drought soil. The horizontal rows then give you an idea of plant spacing – the best soil can be more closely planted and the poorer soil needs more spacing. It’s obvious, but little spoken of in the common intensive-planting gardening books.
I had actually read this book years ago when we were gardening on-grid in Michigan, where it was more fun than necessity. The soil there was at the opposite end of the chart from our current soil, which I’m learning changes a whole slew of things.
Perhaps that is the most important undertone in Gardening When It Counts. Work with what you have. Don’t try to intensively plant in soil that isn’t made for that. Plant what grows well in your area. Understand more about the plants and their needs.
And that is why Gardening When It Counts is now one of my all time favorite gardening books.
my (grain-free) cookbook
All information found on Nourishing Days is editorial in nature and therefore meant to motivate and inspire rather than be construed as medical advice.
Any statements or claims about the health benefits of supplements or foods made here have not been evaluated by the FDA and as such are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease..
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