Book Review: Four-Season Harvest

Over the last few years I have found that, with the exception of my audiobooks, my reading habits have been leaning more and more towards non-fiction.  I borrowed a copy of the “Four-Season Harvest” by Eliot Coleman from a friend of mine.  I had expected that it would take me a while to get through it.  Instead I found it so interesting that I read the entire book in a matter of days instead of weeks.  It is well written and gave me so many new ideas that I have to figure out what to do next.  

I have a very small garden that grows slightly each year.  It is a mix of annual veggies, annual flowers, perennial veggies, and perennial flowers with a couple of small lilac bushes thrown into the mix.  This year is the first year that the garden is actually producing food for our table in reasonable amounts.  I need to keep the yield small and restricted to what I know will be eaten, rather than what I would like to grow.

Keeping in mind that I need to keep things simple, basic, and as low maintenance as possible, I have decided that the 20 x 40 year round greenhouse is just not quite feasible.  Instead here is a list of things that I may be able to pull off with out too much trouble or additional weekly work.

  • Look at building a real compost pile, possibly using straw bales or hay bales just to keep the cost as low as possible.  It would be nice to have it close to the house so that everyone can dump stuff into it.  Plus it would be near where we want to put the potager garden in.
  • Get some seeds so that I can plant some of the following cold hardy veggies for a fall/winter harvest: Spinach, Scallions, Mache, claytonia, and carrots.  I think I can convince my family to eat each of them.
  • Clear out the space where I want to put in the new garden.  Instead of creating the garden I was originally planning I am going to modify it to hold a 4×8 cold frame over the top of it instead.  I want to outline the whole thing with bricks that are leveled that the cold frame can rest on.  It will make the garden easier to mow around in the summer anyway.
  • While I am at it I want to clear out my shade garden and frame that with bricks as well.  I need to pull most everything in the garden and dig up the ground.  It is far to compacted and should have some compost mixed in as well.  
  • I need to build said cold frame so that it is ready for this fall when the cold weather starts.
  • Long term I would like to create a garden that is designed as a year round one possibly along the south side of the new house.  it gets some of the best sun and the brick along the bottom will help to keep the garden warm in the winter. 
  • When we put in our new patio/potager garden/fire-pit/gazebo/ everything else outdoor room it would be nice to include some cold weather gardening ideas as well.  
  • Someday a nice big 

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