Perhaps THE Best Gardening Book of All, January 4, 2006
By Richard Timms (Elkhart, IN, USA)
"THE SELF-SUFFICIENT SUBURAN GARDEN"
[note: this book is out of print, but used books at available at Amazon.com. I own a hard copy and agree with the book review posted at Amazon.com by Richard Timms.]
There are countless books on gardening, garden planning and home food production - some better and some far worse than others. Of all the books I have read over some 20 plus years I would list only about a dozen or so that have actually proven their value, both as references and practical, easy to read, 'how to' books that can, if followed, make you a far more effective gardener.
This book tops the list and is, to me at least, THE one first book I would recommend to anyone who is seriously considering home food production. Jeff Ball introduces a highly readable, easily followed five-step (read five-year) plan to transform a suburban back yard into an attractive, highly productive, and fully sustainable 'suburban homestead.' It starts out with a couple of raised beds and progresses to a full size garden, utilizing progressive intensive planting, cold frames and a small greenhouse to produce food year-round. For the serious suburban homesteader it even includes information on food storage, canning and even how to incorporate chickens, rabbits, bees, and fish into the completed system -all while maintaining the neat appearance many suburban communities require.
Some of the information in this book is a little 'dated',yet the basic principles it teaches are actually far more important now than they were at the time the book was written.
With energy and food prices skyrocketing in this country due to hurricane damage in the Gulf, declining (or soon to be declining) fossil fuel supplies world wide, climate change, environmental pollution and degredation, and the deteriorating American economy as countless middle-class jobs are lost each year to outsourcing, it is very likely that the average American family will need to produce a significant portion of their own food over the next few decades.
The good news is that this is not only possible, but that it can be done sustainably in almost any suburban yard while enriching the soil, reducing household waste, and saving a substantial amount of money. Seems hard to believe that Rodale has shown no interest in republishing this book (or allowing anyone else to do so), but used copies are still available. Get one.