Sunday, June 7, 2009

My Summer Homestead-related Reading List

I stopped by the library the other day to find some good "book learning" materials. I devoured the new issue of Mother Earth News the night after I got it. Another Fantastic issue! I have fallen into a new addiction latly: reading to fall asleep. For some reason reading a good cookbook or 'how to' book is oddly relaxing at the end of the day as it takes my mind off all my stress and worries, plus it seems to set in my brain better then as I'm sleeping. ( I learned that in college, if I study then sleep I remember it better).

I just finished The $64 Dollar Tomato and loved it! It was witty, it had some interesting food for thought ( no pun intended) and the issues the author goes thru with deer, squireels, Superchuck, purslane and crazy gardeners brought a smile to my face and many funny memories of our own experiences in trying to start our garden(s). I too have often had moments where I've wondered if all the headache and expenses of a garden really justify the sometimes meager harvest- and it so totally does. I think its a nice break from the usual gardening book, kinda like reading a blog!

Right now I am reading Fresh Food from Small Spaces. Its a very new book, just published last year, and so far I am enjoying the info so far. I'm glad theres finally a book for "us" city dwellers trying to work with very tiny areas and limited resources. It has lots of info on making healthy food not necessarily raised by us, such as yogurt, kefir, sprouts and kimchi. Us city dwellers cant grow alot, but its nice to take store bought ingrediants and increasing their nutritional value. Since all of those things are on my "works in progress" list it really makes me feel like the book was written just for me :) I can't wait to get to the chapter on using reflected light to help grow things, since I do have some light reflected off my glass doors back out onto the balcony. Theres even step by step instructions for building a SWC with rubbermaid bins, that made me laugh out loud, apparently I'm ahead of the trends again! Theres also a nice list of "Apartment Garden" friendly plants, one of which is bush beans which I hadnt considered growing here- but the author says they produce well even in partial shade as long as the weather is warm, so I may give them a shot as an experiment, once this stupid cloudy weather clears out. This is one book I am adding to my wish list on Amazon that I'd actually love to own.

The three "cookbooks" are for reference as I start canning & jamming again, I've already read Nourishing Traditions & Stocking up but havent had the extra funds to buy them just yet. I'm on the search for a good Kimchi recipe, and I'd like to try making it with Swiss Chard like Anais Dervaes did. The Preserving without Sugar looked interesting as I hoped it meant not relying on commercial pectin as well- unfortunatly its recipes still rely on pectin as well as glycerine for thicking- yuck?

Last but not lease Self Sufficient Life and the Goat book just looked really interesting on the shelf so I grabbed them. :)


Sinfonian said...

GREAT POST. So glad you're reading those books and reporting on them. I don't have the time, but they look great.

Hehe, yeah, your SWC is ahead of the curve for sure.

I sure hope things turn for the better for you guys so you can get a decent sized garden soon. You deserve it!

Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

You've got some good books there! Gotta love your local library.

Happy to see you are back. I must have lost track of your blog over the winter. Your balcony garden looks beautiful. I have a friend who wants to start a container garden, but I have zero success with potted plants, so I'm going to send her to your blog for ideas.