Saturday, April 25, 2015

Gardening with the Gettles

Well, I think I've finally come to the end of my backlog of gardening books with The Heirloom Life Gardener: The Baker Creek Way of Growing Your Own Food Easily and Naturally by Jere and Emily Gettle of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. It's just as much memoir as gardening book, using Gettle's life-journey as a vehicle for sharing his gardening wisdom. The first four chapters outline Jere Gettle's childhood, and the establishment of his seed company, and, finally, his wanderlust to discover and preserve heirloom varieties in the United States and around the world.

In the fifth chapter, the authors (Jere, his wife Emilee with Meghan Sutherland) finally tell the reader "How to Garden." They dispense general gardening advice--organically oriented--whose most surprising admission is the use, when necessary, of plastic mulch because of its economy.

Mulch is one of the most important tools in your gardening arsenal, and helpful in many different ways.

The second half of the book is an "A to Z Growing Guide" which, in addition to the usual cultivation advice organized by variety, offers techniques for seed saving and even some cooking suggestions.

If you've read their Heirloom Gardener magazine, you'd be surprised to know that the term "Frankenfood"--meaning genetically modified organisms--doesn't appear until page 117 while discussing the incursion of GMO corn into the gene pool. The authors are surprisingly mild when discussing GMOs, especially when compared with the magazine, which can be strident, at times. They do make their point, however.

The Heirloom Life Gardener is well-organized by the staff at Hyperion, and colorfully attractive thanks to book designers Shubhani Sarkar and Sunil Manchikanti. Not surprisingly, it was published with sustainability in mind. The Heirloom Life Gardener is an enjoyable, informative read from one of the nation's premier seedsmen.

What about you? What's on your reading table?


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