Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master Gardener's Guide to Planting, Seed Saving and Cultural History

Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master Gardener's Guide to Planting, Seed Saving and Cultural History

by William Woys Weaver, Signe Sundberg-Hall
     
 
In this encyclopedic guide to the history and cultivation of some of America's most treasured heirloom vegetables, food historian and organic gardener Will Weaver focuses on 280 profiled varieties of 37 vegetables and discusses nearly 400 others. He shares his over thirty years of original research from historical archives as well as hands-on gardening experience

Overview

In this encyclopedic guide to the history and cultivation of some of America's most treasured heirloom vegetables, food historian and organic gardener Will Weaver focuses on 280 profiled varieties of 37 vegetables and discusses nearly 400 others. He shares his over thirty years of original research from historical archives as well as hands-on gardening experience to help the lay person appreciate the fascinating history of each vegetable, grow it, and incorporate it into everyday cooking.

Some 100 varieties are shown in full color and more than 200 with line drawings by Signe Sundberg Hall. Weaver traces the development of the seed-saving movement and the history of the kitchen garden in America and gives a list of commercial seed and plant stock sources, plus an extensive bibliography.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Assembling just about all there is to know about tubers (and beans and legumes), Weaver (Pennsylvania Dutch Country Cooking) passionately exposes myths of plant origins and clarifies confusions of varieties. An advocate of biodiversity, Weaver aims to restore endangered and rare food plants to American gardens and kitchens. Offered as a kind of verbal Noah's ark for vanishing vegetables, the book profiles 280 "living antiques." These plants range from the quirky (unusual root vegetables such as evening primroses and dahlias) to the haunting (the "Trail of Tears Bean" carried by Cherokees on their forced migration). The plant profiles include tips on planting, harvesting, seed-saving, maintaining seed purity and cooking. Despite engaging curiosities (e.g., an onion soup "much used by ladies... after the fatigues of a ball"), the plain recipes here may inspire more curiosity than cooking. Weaver traces American kitchen gardening from its classical Roman roots, as well as its economic developmentfrom subsistence home gardens to profit-making market gardens to contemporary agribusiness. This encyclopedia is bound to become the seed-saver's bible, a holy book for gardeners intent on doing their part to combat the genetic winnowing brought about by industrial agriculture. Photos and drawings not seen by PW. First serial, electronic and audio rights: Blanche Schlessinger. (May)
Library Journal
"The kitchen garden is the essential American garden," and "heirloom vegetables will never be safe from extinction unless we use them." These two statements from Weaver, a food historian and organic gardener, form the philosophical framework for his detailed treatise on vegetables from America's past. The history of the kitchen garden in America, the use of heirloom vegetables in today's gardens, and the heirloom seed-saving movement are a few of the topics covered, but most of this book is devoted to detailed profiles of approximately 280 heirloom vegetables. These profiles contain historical background, general growing and seed-saving information, and descriptions of specific heirloom varieties with an occasional old-fashioned recipe included. The section on tomatoes, for example, covers 20 different varieties, from the Acme to the Yellow Peach. A short appendix identifies commercial sources for seed and plant stock as well as some useful periodicals. The author's enthusiasm for and knowledge of his subject will inspire gardeners to begin including heirloom vegetables in their own yards. Highly recommended for libraries where there is an interest in heirloom gardening or gardening history.John Charles, Scottsdale P.L., Ariz.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805060898
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
03/28/1999
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
439
Product dimensions:
7.38(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.25(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >