Series: How to Grow More Vegetables: (And Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains,
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press; 8 edition (February 7, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 10.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #20,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #12 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Landscape Design > Vegetables #17 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Landscape Design > By Technique > Organic #46 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Sustainable Living
I am an urban farmer. I use this book as a reference more than any of the more than 25 other books I have on the subject of growing fruit & vegetables. The sheer volume of practical information in this book is amazing. It includes not only how to prepare the soil, but at what temperature specific seeds are able to germinate. This means you don't have to plant things several times to get a crop, because you just check the soil temperature and you know whether the seeds will germinate or not. It gives you charts that tell you how close together you can plant each vegetable, how much harvest you can get from a 100 sq. ft. bed, how long it takes a particular vegetable to grow to harvest size, how long the harvest period is for a particular crop, and on and on. It makes suggestions on crop rotation, so that you maintain the fertility of your soil and continue to maximize your harvest. It also gives you suggestions about how much of each crop one person would likely eat in a year, so you know how much to plant. The companion planting suggestions are great. I used to have trouble with tomato worms. Now I plant tomatoes with Calendula, Basil & Borage and no more tomato worms. My tomatoes grow 7-8 feet tall and I have gotten 35 lbs of tomatoes off one tomato plant.
There are lots and lots of ways to garden. There are lots and lots of books on gardening. What this book has is an in depth explanation of old and new methods. HE focuses on the ones he's been sucessful with. When I say in depth I mean it. The guy must have been an engineer in some time of his life. Best book I've read so far. I have over 60 gardening books in my personal library, but if I include the public library's publications I would say 150 books. I usually only copy a page or two out of a book that I found interesting and pass it on. This one I would have had to copy the whole thing. So I bought it!
When I was working my tail off digging my garden by hand earlier this year, other people used their tillers and thought I was crazy. But since I've been pulling out cucumbers and zucchini as big as my arm, they say they're going to do their gardens this way next year. Everything in my garden is enormous and I haven't had to weed it once.First I dug the whole thing 1-2 feet deep just to loosen the soil. Then laid down soaker hoses all over it and covered them with weed barrier. Then I hooked up the hoses to a timer so they never miss a watering. Voila, gigantic vegetables and no work.
I have read quite a few gardening books but this one is a "must read". I'm just sorry that it has taken me this long to find a really excellent book on soil preparation(I'm 65).Say Goodbye to fertilizers and hello healthy plants. Wow what a difference it has made in my garden.The only problem is that at times the author can be a little technical.
Although I have great respect for Jeavons and enjoy his seed catalogs, this book was a total disappointment. If you want practical gardening advice, please save your money to buy his seeds but don't waste money on this book. Yes, the book contains interesting information - a fascinating history about the "roots" of bio-intensive gardening - but otherwise it is devoid of information I could actually apply to my garden. In places, the writing is so bad as to render simple techniques completely incomprehensible. Jeavons spends 7 pages describing "double digging" and after reading twice I still had no idea what he was talking about. The book "Starter Vegetable Gardens" by Barbara Pleasant explains the method in 2 pages which I understood perfectly. Jeavons' book contains 43 pages of charts. Trouble is, the "keys" and "codes" to the charts are so complex and annoying that I will never use them and have no idea what they are for. Jeavons mentions cool concepts like "companion planting" but then fails to give any practical advice on how to do it. If your needs are geared toward survivalism - i.e. working with people in developing countries or if you are a backwoods survivalist here in USA - you will find this book more useful than I did. If you just want to know how to make your yard as productive as possible and learn some good gardening techniques - there are many better books. For PRACTICAL how-to advice on growing organic food in limited spaces, "Grow Great Grub" is inspiring and well-written. "The Urban Homestead" is not specific to gardening but full of practical good advice for anyone who wants to grow lots of food on a small space. I wanted to like Jeavons' book, because I really do like his seed catalogs and his philosophy, but it is badly written and not very helpful except in terms of survivalist philosophy.
If you enjoy reading a book where the author's company's core technique is repeated in CAPITAL LETTERS two or three times every page, then this book is for you.The book does contain some useful information, but it's infuriating to read; almost every page has the phrase GROW BIOINTENSIVE multiple times in all caps. The copy editing is sub par; there are many misspellings - GROW BIOINTENSIVE is even spelled incorrectly on at least one occasion. Aside from the numerous references to GROW BIOINTENSIVE, the author frequently refers to his company, and his other publications; for example: "Calorie and sustainable soil fertility min-farming and gardening is the next step, which needs to be catalyzed by each one of us. Ecology Action publications Once Circle, The Sustainable Vegetable Garden, and the Self-Teaching Mini-Series Booklets, 14, 15, 25, 26, 28, 34, 35 and 36 deal with growing a complete diet."To add insult to injury, the book is written as if to a reader with ADHD. Frequently a paragraph will rehash the same information that was in the previous paragraph. There are entire half pages of fluff.Author(s), if you are reading this, please remove ALL mentions of GROW BIOINTENSIVE (except in a prologue or epilogue); please remove all references to other Ecology Action publications (except, perhaps in footnotes); and tighten up the text (you can lose easily 50 pages).In summary, I recommend against buying this book. There are better books focused on the techniques covered here, without attempting to give you the hard sell.
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