In Common: The Heirloom Life Gardener

At any given moment, I am cycling through a tall stack of books – books on parenting, history, education, theology, even fiction when I can squeeze it in.

I love the idea of sharing short excerpts of what I am am currently reading. Look for these updates each week as the feature In Common.

This week I am excited to share a new book that arrived just days ago.

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If you garden at all you may be familiar with Baker Creek Seed Company. They specialize in heirloom varieties of everything imaginable (or least it seems that way).

Flipping through their catalog is one of the best ways to pass the colder months while you dream of a spring garden.

Don't let the abundance of awesome pictures fool you. This is not a coffee table book. It is packed full of information!
Don’t let the abundance of awesome pictures fool you. This is not a coffee table book. It is packed full of information!

The Heirloom Life Gardener: The Baker Creek Way of Growing Your Own Food Easily and Naturally is a wonderful book published in 2011, and tells the history of Baker Creek Seed Company and of its founder, Jere Gettle.

The motivating story of how someone grew up with a passion for seeds and heirlooms and has turned it into his mission.
The motivating story of how someone grew up with a passion for seeds and heirlooms and has turned it into his mission.

But it’s so much more than a history of the company. It’s a plea for the return to a more natural way of gardening, before the richness of heirloom varieties are lost to the forward march of agroindustry, GMOs and monoculture.

You don't have to live on 174 acres in the Ozarks to grow your own food! Gettle includes ideas and suggestions for growing your own food and supporting local agriculture even if you live in a city.
You don’t have to live on 174 acres in the Ozarks to grow your own food! Gettle includes ideas and suggestions for growing your own food and supporting local agriculture even if you live in a city.

This book is a wonderful introduction to planting, growing, harvesting and seed-saving. An A to Z Growing Guide, including many heirloom varieties (many you’ve probably never seen or heard of before!), rounds out this fascinating and colorful book.

Prepare to be amazed. This guide includes crops you are familiar along with many heirloom varieties you've probably never seen before.
Prepare to be amazed. This guide includes crops you are familiar along with many heirloom varieties you’ve probably never seen before.

Enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 3: Seeds in America:

A hundred years ago, children spent time in a garden while they were growing up. If you wanted to eat lunch, you often needed to work in the garden. Hundreds of schoolschildren visit Baker Creek each year to take tours of our Bakersville pioneer village. Many of them have never planted seeds or even seen a garden up close. I love watching them giggle when they see our big old turkeys wobbling around – because although these kids may have eaten a fair share of turkey sandwiches in their life, this is the first time they’re getting to see where the turkey comes from. When they see our gardens, they are excited. Wow, they say, I can actually grow my own food? I can plant a garden all by myself? The idea of getting something to eat anywhere outside of a supermarket, convenience store, or fast-food restaurant is fascinating to them. Their eyes nearly pop out of their heads when they see what we’re growing and realize what it is possible to do on a farm.

I am at once encouraged to hear about children’s excitement when seeing gardens for the first time and saddened about their ignorance of something as simple as the source of their food. This book is motivation to not only garden for the sake of gardening but also to play a part in the preservation of our future food supply.

 

 

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