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macmex

The Resilient Gardener

Macmex
10 years ago

Hey Folks,

I've been meaning to post something on this great new book I received recently. The full title is *The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times. It's by Carol Deppe, an innovative plant breeder and very good author from the West Coast. Carol also wrote *Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's & Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding & Seed Saving*, which has been my favorite book on seed saving for years.

The reason I've held off posting is that I'm not totally through with the book. Plus, I have wanted to write a brilliant, glowing commentary on the book when I did. But I'm having trouble summing up the book. Actually, the title does that about as well as anyone could. But I'll give you a couple reasons why I'm so excited about this book:

1) This book pretty well nails what has been Jerreth's and my passion in almost everything we do related to self-sufficiency. That is, it addresses something larger and broader than just growing things. It addresses *production for consumption, survival and happiness.*

2) Carol writes uniquely. One does not learn what she has to teach without learning about her own journey. I find this very helpful, as the context helps explain the content. I also find Carol, in her books, to be a delightful person.

3) This book addresses other areas of production, which, in my mind are closely related to gardening, though often not considered so. For example she writes on poultry and other forms of meat production. To me, this is just a logical step from gardening and very important.

4) Carol is a "duck-aholic" and so am I. Okay, so she isn't into Muscovies, like me. But her Anconas sound like excellent birds. I cannot understand why so few Americans like duck and even fewer like their eggs. Yet, ducks are probably the most practical of all poultry, with the potential of being raised where chickens can not.

5) Carol writes about growing and raising things because they make one feel good. I grow certain crops which I call "feel good crops." That's because, they are dependable and productive and, for one reason or another, when I grow them and am around them, I am happy. Carol expresses this very well.

6) Carol has celiac disease. Because of her wheat intolerance everything she produces is slanted toward a wheat free diet. Jerreth and I love wheat. But we greatly appreciate Carol's perspective. She has focused on corn, which for the home grower much easier to process. Being a plant breeder, Carol has actually developed some varieties of corn, special for the homesteader type. Also, we know a number of families with celiacs in them. We couldn't resist, we had to send them copies. We can't send out more now. But this book is very high on our list as a "must have," for several reasons.

Okay, I have to do chores. I'm off work, stayed up too late and slept too late! Gotta run!

Do look at the link below. There you can download the table of contents and first chapter of the book. You'll probably have to order it after reading that ;)

George

Tahlequah, OK

Here is a link that might be useful: Carol Deppe dot com

Comments (13)

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    George,

    Thanks for the review of the book. I've had it on my wish list at Amazon.com ever since it came out, and I'm going to order it when I get closer to finishing Rosalind Creasey's "Edible Landscaping" book.

    I'd love to have ducks, and both we and our neighbors have tried to have them, but we have too many predators here and ducks don't last a week. If we had a way to keep them safe from all the various predators, we'd have ducks again in a heartbeat.

    Dawn

  • susanlynne48
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Sounds like a very interesting book, George. I just loved reading your review of it, too.

    If it weren't for the fact that my daughter and granddaughters live here in the city, I'd probably be home in Kansas in a very small farming community right now.

    My problem lies in being an animal lover, though, and if I had ducks, they would end up being pets and not food. I know, I'm a sucker. It's funny how that works out. I can sift out the emotions if I buy it at the supermarket, but if I actually owned a cow, a chicken, a pig, or even a catfish, it would have a cutesy name and be sleeping in the house with me, LOL! ;o)

    I have never eaten duck either. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't at all. I consider eating an adventure and will try everything at least once.

    Susan

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  • Macmex
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Duck is DELICIOUS! Muscovies are the survivors of the duck clan. If any duck will make it, a Muscovy will. However, I can understand Dawn, about your situation. It seems pretty wild and woolly where you live. But that's another observation about this book. Carol recognizes the different situations we all live in. She makes some suggestions. But also leaves plenty of room for experimentation and variation. For instance, she leans heavily on potatoes. For my climate, I still want to work at potatoes. But I want to do A LOT of sweet potatoes, since they do so much better for me here.

    Here's the solution for our poultry protection. Both of these fellows required a bit of work, and made some mistakes. But now they are tremendous assets. I can leave the ducks out on the pond, at night, and they're safe.

    Susan, I understand about your problem with sentimentality. It took me years to work into the position where I'm at now. I still find myself sad and apologizing to the animals when I butcher. I suspect Carol is closer to your position. Her ducks are primarily for eggs.

    George

  • owiebrain
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Sounds like a wonderful book! Thank you for the suggestion/review! I'm going to add it to my neverending wishlist.

    Now that we're out of the wilds with the oodles of predators like Dawn's place, we've actually be considering expanding our poultry. If you ever have some spare time, I'd love to hear your thoughts on ducks (and other non-chicken poultry if you have experience with them). I need to hunt down a basic primer on ducks and geese and make some decisions over the next few months as we'd want to add them in the spring of 2010, most likely.

    Again, thanks for the review! I had not heard of the book and it sounds right up my alley.

    Diane

  • Macmex
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Diane, here's a link to a good book on ducks. Once again, I have to run to do chores ;)

    We raise turkeys, ducks and chickens. We've had guineas several times. Guineas are good survivors, as far as fowl go. But we dropped them because they beat up on our chickens during in the spring. Turkeys are great. But they are very temperamental. It is challenging to raise them to adulthood and there are many things one needs to take into account to raise them. Still, we stick with them. A free range turkey is an incredible culinary experience.

    Ducks are the easiest of the fowl to raise. They seem to have a superb immune system. They grow like lightening and some breeds are superb foragers. We've had runner ducks, some crosses and Muscovies. With runner ducks it's important to get a good strain. Otherwise they may not lay so well. But a good strain of runner duck can out lay most any breed of chicken. Still, they are flighty. We found that we get enough eggs from our chickens, so our main focus is the Muscovy.

    We have a production strain of white Muscovy which grows fast and gets really large. They are lower in fat than most ducks. Muscovies are fantastic mothers and great foragers. There is, however, some concern, as the federal government has grouped the Muscovy with migratory birds. Unless something changed, one is allowed to raise them for meat, but not for pets. Also, we're supposed to "mark" them, which I'm still investigating. It is now illegal to release them into the wild, which is something I would agree with anyway.

    I have no experience with the Ancona. But it sounds very nice. Also, I suspect that Buffs and several other breeds could be great. A friend of mine has Silver Appleyards, which are very nice meat birds.

    Okay, I have to go for now!

    George

    Here is a link that might be useful: Storey's Guide to Ducks

  • duckcreekgardens
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I had guineas for awhile, I was hatching every clutch I could find until I had well over 100. they were much tamer than the ones my grandmother had when I was a kid and stayed up near the house and totally destroyed my hostas. Had to give them away. I had Muscovies once, but they flew away. If a muscovy breeds with another kind of duck, they produce sterile (mule) offspring.

  • owiebrain
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Thanks, George. Storey has a book for everything, it seems.

    (By the way, I typo'd my way through that last post up there. 2012 is when I meant.)

    Diane

  • Macmex
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    When I read a book like this one, first I check out the acknowledgements, intro and table of contents. Then I jump around in the book to different parts that especially catch my attention. Finally, I settle down and read it cover to cover. I'm about two thirds through this last step now.

    Most recently I discovered that Carol Deppe explains how to actually let ducks help in the garden without destroying it. Also, in this book she goes into detail with instructions on producing and cooking the best flavored duck eggs. Cooking them for optimal flavor and texture requires a slightly different technique than that used for chicken eggs.
    She also talks about the Ancona breed being better for evading hawks and how to help ducks be safe from hawks.

    The other day, I learned quite a bit about making the best use of the distinct flavors & textures of different colored potatoes.

    George

  • leava
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    thanx so much for all the input on the book, i think i will splurge on it......

  • Macmex
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Deppe takes several areas of garden skill to (for me) new heights. Just in the area of seed saving and preservation, her background in biology and genetics comes out. I've been tending toward growing fewer varieties and trying to do a better job with them. This book has confirmed that. For instance, For the past couple of years I've had crosses turning up in my beans. This year I am going to plant far more Tennessee Cutshorts and really hit it in selection.

    She has developed a method which she calls "Turbo winnowing." We're going to give it a try and grow some dry beans for eating. I've grown Mecatl�n Black for years, but only for seed. With this method it sounds truly practical for us to raise them for quantity and to eat.

    George

  • owiebrain
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Oh, George, George, George... You are a bad influence. I just ordered The Resilient Gardener after working my womanly wiles on both budget and hubby.

    And Dawn, you get to sit in the corner with George. While at Amazon, Livingston and the Tomato popped into my cart when I wasn't looking. I'm pretty sure it whispered "Dawn sends her regards." over its shoulder as it whooshed by me.

    Finally, through some odd alignment of the planets that opened a book portal from a parallel universe, Trowel and Error was somehow added to the order as well. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get them to delete from my cart. I was forced to complete the entire order of the three books together. It was quite traumatic.

    You people are bad. Bad, I tell you!

    Diane

  • Macmex
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Diane,

    Really, you only ordered one copy of this book? ;)
    Seriously, I just finished reading it straight through, which is the last thing I usually do when "reading" a book like this. The last chapter, on corn, is worth the price of the entire book. Actually, the recipes in this book are worth the price of the entire book. Carol Deppe has the most unique recipes, things like how to make a sandwich bread using only corn flour, or what corns make the best polenta and how to use polenta in place of rice or noodles, in various dishes.

    Carol discusses strategies for maintaining pure corn seed, even if there are other corn growers around you. And, she discusses how to know that your seed is not contaminated with GMO germplasm.

    Carol has the most in depth, yet practical discussion of corn genetics which I've seed, even telling how one can grow sister varieties in an environment with some cross pollination and yet still keep them practically pure.

    Carol has experimented widely with the flavors of corns and how they flavors are affected by the pigmentation of the different parts of the kernel. For instance, I never knew that different colors of corn make for distinct flavors of meal or flour.

    Finally (for me, at the moment, anyway) Carol discusses the production and consumption of true parched corn. I didn't realize that true parched corn is made from only flour corn. What I've learned, just about parched corn, will probably have a major impact on our lives, as I'm sure Jerreth will want to produce and consume the stuff. It is supposed to be delicious and usable as a staple food item.

    For me, the problem is more: how am I going to raise any more corn?

    Happy reading/gardening

    George

  • owiebrain
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I just got tingles reading about what's in store for me! Truly, when my two great loves, gardening and books, intersect, I have great issues controlling myself. Being a confirmed cheapskate, I hate spending money and would have waited for some cheaper used versions of the book to become available but your corn info two posts back pushed me right over the edge.

    When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be a geneticist. My walls were covered in books (still are!) and I loved, loved science (still do!). Mendelssohn was my hero. I still had dreams of that as I was in college but reality took me a different direction. My point is I get all ga-ga over discussions of plant breeding, cross-breeding, and genetics like a kid at Christmas. Being near complete ignorance about corn crossbreeding, this will be a huge treat for me!

    I loved parched corn as a treat when I was a kid but cannot remember who it was that I got it from. I never paid any attention to how they made it so am really looking forward to that part of the book as well.

    I cannot wait to dig into this book!!

    Diane