Friday, December 18, 2009

The gift of gardening (knowledge).

'Tis the season to spend time with family, loved ones, and maybe even exchange a few gifts. As Hanukkah winds down my gift giving is nearly done, culminating with an afternoon/evening of lovely activities with my girlfriend tomorrow.
My gift receiving included a bundle of gardening knowledge in the form of some excellent reading material to keep my mind occupied with thoughts of growing veggies throughout the cold northeast winter.
For inspiration:
Barbara Kingslover, along with husband Steven L. Hopp & eldest daughter Camille Kingslover recount their experiences of eating homegrown (whenever possible) or locally sourced food for a full year. They grow their own vegetables, raise their own poultry and buy the majority of their other food directly from farmers markets and other local sources. Thus far Animal, Vegetable, Miracle has been an entertaining read month-to-month chronicles interspersed with her husband's short and extremely informative resource filled commentaries and daughter Camille's reflections and recipes offer a younger perspective alongside simple looking recipes for all seasons.
Entering the food gardening world, my intent is not to grow all of my food. I would like to grow some of my food and reap the physical & mental benefits of tending a garden. That being said I've found Animal, Vegetable, Miracle to be an informative and fun read. I've visited the AMV website and intend to try out some of the recipes found in the book.

For useful in the garden reference:

A how-to/encyclopedic guide to the ins and outs of vegetable & herb gardening The Kitchen Garden Grower's Guide is an extremely amazing guide for most levels of gardener. From seed to harvest to food preparation and storage I will be referring back to this book for many years to come. One thing I find especially helpful is that this book is geared towards those who want to plant a small garden, not a massive farm.

Another encyclopedic reference book, The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control covers all the basics of plant diseases and management. Each listing covers common disease or pest problems, and useful tips to manage them without the use of chemicals. The book is full of pictures identifying garden diseases and insects. You could bring this to the garden and match your plant to a photo in the book. It seems that in most common cases identifying a disease or insect should be a smooth process.

Even if I'm not fortunate enough to be granted a plot at one of my local community gardens this coming year, I probably will be the following year. Both of the above books will be helpful for years to come, whether I am gardening at a community plot or my own yard (when i don't live in a condo).

For the kitchen:

Storey Country Wisdom Bulletins such as Food Drying Techniques are 32-page how-to guides for practical and useful topics. The techniques presented in this bulletin are very basic and explained in an easy to follow manner. This certainly isn't the be all-end all in food preservation but it is a good start for some simple small scale techniques that can be done in any kitchen, even as small as mine.

Quite the haul of valuable and interesting gardening resources to keep my head filled with thoughts of planning my own garden. Cheers and well wishes for a happy and healthy winter related holiday & new year for all!


Dan said...

Happy Holidays!

mangocheeks said...

Happy Christmas Fred to You and your family.

Thomas said...

Happy holidays Fred! I love Barbara Kingsolver's book. Thanks for posting about these references. I will definitely have to check out some of these guides. I've always wanted to learn more about how to dry foods.

Hopefully, the next year will bring us both bountiful harvests!

Leslie said...

Hey Fred, Thanks for dropping by dreams and bones and leaving a note ... I had fun reading this post and loved browsing your new blog. Armed with this AND your Barbara Damrosch book you should be well set for this spring's adventure. So glad you are doing this. Happy Holidays.