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The Winter Harvest Handbook - Year-Round Vegetable Production Using Deep-Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses by Eliot Coleman Books in Review
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The Winter Harvest Handbook - Year-Round Vegetable Production Using Deep-Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses
by Eliot Coleman
Chelsea Green Publishing
ISBN 978-1-60358-081-6
Published June 2009 - Softcover - 250 pages - $29.95

I can barely grow basil on my kitchen windowsill, yet am fascinated by greenhouses.  Don't know how to operate them but I do love the idea.  Ideally, it would be wonderful to be able to grow our own vegetables in our backyards.  Or at least some of what we like to consume.  Not always practical for a number of reasons, like no time, no space, no know-how, non-conducive climate, etc.  Eliot Coleman solved the weather problem by using cold houses to grow produce in the winter.  In Maine!  He says "There is no heating system nor any water or stone ballast with pumps or fans as a heat storage medium, nor is there buried insulation around the perimeter".  That's why, I realized, it's called a cold house and not a hothouse.  It goes without saying that one can't grow everything and anything in a cold house, that's not the goal.  Coleman's Four Season Farm grows "cold-hardy vegetables" and they "successive plant" and protect their cultivation.  Very clever and very practical, and it doesn't appear too technical or too expensive to operate.  This cold house approach is not new, it's been around in operation in France for yonks.  Coleman and his crew have experimented over the years to now be in a position to sow and harvest year round, and they use moveable cold houses (I love this idea) and ensure the soil is properly taken care of from one planting to the next.  Aided by maps, graphs, and illustrations (and gorgeous photos), you'll be able to see how to do things where you live.  Soil preparation, pest control, dealing with disease, and implements are also discussed.  They've covered and thought of everything.  The best part is that you can have fresh vegetables all year round instead of paying high prices for imported produce or for that which lacks taste.
Conclusion - A rare three stars!  Invaluable information for anyone with a little space and who wants to grow vegetables year round, particularly in colder climates, and who want to do so economically.

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