Wednesday, April 25, 2012

garden wednesdays vol 2

Due to the plague and also the weather we have been having here in NY (since Saturday the weather has been cold and rainy every day) we haven't made any dents in our garden projects. So unfortunately I don't have any beautiful garden posts for you. So instead I wanted to share a couple books that we had bought last year that are really inspirational in creating your own backyard (or front yard)  garden feasts.

The One Block Feast is a great instructional book from the people that bring you Sunset magazine. 

"Based on the James Beard Award–winning blog The One-Block Diet, this all-in-one home gardening, do-it-yourself guide and cookbook shows you how to transform a backyard or garden into a self-sufficient locavore’s paradise.

When Margo True and her fellow staffers at Northern California–based Sunset magazine walked around the grounds of their Menlo Park office, they saw more than just a lawn and some gardens. Instead, they saw a fresh, bountiful food source, the makings for intrepid edible projects, and a series of seasonal feasts—all just waiting to happen.

The One-Block Feast is the story of how True and her team took an inspired idea and transformed it into an ambitious commitment: to create four feasts over the course of a year, using only what could be grown or raised in their backyard-sized plot. She candidly shares the group’s many successes and often humorous setbacks as they try their hands at chicken farmingcheese makingolive pressinghome brewingbee keepingwinemaking, and more."

The only thing that stinks about this book is that it is geared toward California and the seasons out West, not something that can be transferred to living in upstate NY. But the book is full of a lot of other useful information, other than the plantings. K is also planning on keeping bees next year, so I liked reading about the bee keeping too.

The Backyard Homestead is also full of a lot of useful information if you are planning on creating your own gardens and becoming self sufficient.

"Put your backyard to work! Enjoy fresher, organic, better-tasting food all the time. The solution is as close as your own backyard. Grow the vegetables and fruits your family loves; keep bees; raise chickens, goats, or even a cow. The Backyard Homestead shows you how it's done. And when the harvest is in, you'll learn how to cook, preserve, cure, brew, or pickle the fruits of your labor.

From a quarter of an acre, you can harvest 1,400 eggs, 50 pounds of wheat, 60 pounds of fruit, 2,000 pounds of vegetables, 280 pounds of pork, 75 pounds of nuts."

All the books seem to overlap a bit, but the information is definitely so educational and useful. I loved all the cartoon drawing layouts of what you could grow and have on different size plots of land. This book was a better fit for us, in regards of the planting aspect. It gives cold and warm season veggies and isn't just for one locale. If you are looking for a book to get you started, look no further - this is your book. I can't even explain to you how much information is in this book, from planting seedlings, to building your own trellises, and a-z guide of veggies to plant and how to plant them(LOTS of info here), canning, wine making, home brewing, raising various animals, beekeeping etc. It's like the self sufficient gardener's bible. Go out and get this book now if you are even remotely thinking about any of these projects.

The Edible Front Yard is another great, visually inspirational book. 

"People everywhere are turning patches of soil into bountiful vegetable gardens, and each spring a new crop of beginners pick up trowels and plant seeds for the first time. They're planting tomatoes in raised beds, runner beans in small plots, and strawberries in containers. But there is one place that has, until now, been woefully neglected — the front yard.

And there's good reason. The typical veggie garden, with its raised beds and plots, is not the most attractive type of garden, and favorite edible plants like tomatoes and cucumbers have a tendency to look a scraggily, even in their prime. But The Edible Front Yard isn't about the typical veggie garden, and author Ivette Soler is passionate about putting edibles up front and creating edible gardens with curb appeal.

Soler offers step-by-step instructions for converting all or part of a lawn into an edible paradise; specific guidelines for selecting and planting the most attractive edible plants; and design advice and plans for the best placement and for combining edibles with ornamentals in pleasing ways. Inspiring and accessible, The Edible Front Yard is a one-stop resource for a front-and-center edible garden that is both beautiful and bountiful all year-round."

One of the reasons I liked this book so much was for all the pictures of amazing gardens in front yards. It gives so many great layout ideas. It's also full of information regarding all different veggies and how to plant them and what to plant them with for best results.

You can not go wrong with any of these books. It all depends on exactly what your project is and what you are after. The first two books are really similar, so if I had to pick between the two - while I really enjoyed the book put out by Sunset I would pass that one up and buy the Backyard Homestead instead. But that's just because I don't live out west, The Sunset book has beautiful photography where as Backyard Homestead is more like a text book chalk full of useful information. Again, you can't go wrong with any of these books, hope this helps if anyone is thinking about trying to become self sufficient.