February 3, 2011

Review It: Four-Season Harvest + Parallel 44

Four-Season Harvest by Elliot Coleman
Shout out to Parallel 44
Diagrams, directions, and beautiful sketches.
I grew up on the parallel 44 (ie latitude) and have ancestors from near the parallel 44 in France.  A great little winery near my home town even carries the name, Parallel 44.  But it was not until recently that I've given it much thought.  My gardening odyssey has now brought it to my attention and the dreamer in me won't let it rest.  I must garden in winter.

I have read a few books that touch on the idea of gardening and harvesting into winter, outdoors and without a green house.  But it has always been the dreaming part my brain that believed it and wanted to get started trying it.  Meanwhile the rational portion said, "Lauren dear, you have dreamt and tried many things but harvesting greens from outside when the ground is buried in snow and harder than a rock simply can't happen."  The conversation would continue, going nowhere, like the supplies for a cold frame would continue to sit about the yard and garage (much to the dismay of Bean).

It is with great hope and happiness that I have come across Four-Season Harvest by Elliot Coleman.  The first chapter explains precisely what the dreaming part of my brain knew all along.  "Ha! Ha! Rational portion you lose yet again!"  And so enters the amazing attributes of parallel 44.  We have the same amount of daylight as in France, where plenty of things are grown year round.  All I have to do is create a cold frame (to raise the temp a bit), prepare the soil and select suitable plants.  Sounds like gardening into winter next year it will be!

With the help of Elliot and his book the preparations begin.  But first I must get past chapter 1 and read more than skim.  Oh! Oh! jumping in my seat, maybe I can get it the cold frame done in time to harden off my seedlings this Spring.  Bean would be so happy.

So far Four-Season Harvest is an inspiring text despite its lack of extensive beautiful photography (usually a must for my visual brain).  It takes you through the process of how to garden into the colder months.  Going into greater detail, providing diagrams and sketches (as good as beautiful photos).  Simply a must read for anyone finding themselves dreaming of gardening year round.

1 comment:

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