One Magic Square: The Easy, Organic Way to Grow Your Own Food on a 3-Foot Square

One Magic Square: The Easy, Organic Way to Grow Your Own Food on a 3-Foot Square

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by Lolo Houbein
     
 

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A Hands-On Guide to Growing Organic Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs—Starting with Just One Square Yard!

Lolo Houbein has been growing food for more than 30 years—and now, drawing on her wide learning and hard-earned experience, she offers a wealth of information on how to turn small plots of land into sources of nourishing, inexpensive, organic

Overview


A Hands-On Guide to Growing Organic Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs—Starting with Just One Square Yard!

Lolo Houbein has been growing food for more than 30 years—and now, drawing on her wide learning and hard-earned experience, she offers a wealth of information on how to turn small plots of land into sources of nourishing, inexpensive, organic food. Amateur gardeners wondering how to get started and veteran gardeners looking for new ideas will be inspired by Houbein’s practical, often charming, and always optimistic advice. One Magic Square includes:

  • Earth-friendly tips, tricks, and solutions for establishing and maintaining an organic garden
  • Illustrated, annotated plans for 30 plots with different themes—including perennials and “pick-and-come-again” plants, anti-cancer and anti-oxidant-rich vegetables, and salad, pizza, pasta, and stir-fry ingredients
  • Comprehensive information about every plant in every plot
  • Color photographs of the author’s own garden—plus helpful illustrations
  • Houbein family recipes for making the most of your bounty—including salad dressings, fruit and vegetable juices, stir-fries, and more.

Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
“The 30 'Magic Square' garden plots offer plenty of ideas, from a simple salad garden with a variety of lettuces, to gardens for soup, stir fry, root crops and more.”
San Francisco Chronicle
The Virginian-Pilot
“So many gardening books feature plants' mile-long Latin names and confusing charts. Not this one. Its easy-to-follow instructions, diagrams, and photos inspire desire to grow good-for-the-body fresh produce from little yard space. A bonus: some delicious serving suggestions. One Magic Square tells you everything you need to get started and profiles each plant.”
The Virginian-Pilot
The Chicago Tribune
One Magic Square . . . enchants on many levels. Veggie gardeners (especially rookies) will benefit from Houbein's knowledge, which is informed by science and folk wisdom, as well as the breadth of its content (growing information, 30 design plots, many recipes). This single line could sustain us for life: 'Never garden in a mood of wanting to control everything.'”
The Chicago Tribune
The Post-Star
“From plot designs to starting seeds to composting, [One Magic Square] offers beginners a manageable way to get started with organic gardening. It also gives great advice on natural ways of keeping pests away, as well as useful vegetable groupings, even recipes.”
The Post-Star
Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
“[Lolo Houbein] asserts that anyone can grow vegetables using only a plot about the size of one square yard. She offers good directions on what to put into compost, how often to turn it to speed the process, how to go about companion planting and intercropping, and how to pinch, thin, and prune plants to keep them in check . . . [and] includes plot plans for everything from cancer prevention and antioxidant plants to basic salad and soup ingredients, with instructions for where to plant what in each plot.”
Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
EcoVoice (Australia)
“Lolo Houbein’s magic garden squares are creative, international, and a fun way to learn the magic of growing your own food.”
—Tanya Denckla, author of The Gardener’s A–Z Guide to Growing Organic Food“This timely guide will assist first-time and experienced gardeners in taking control of their own food supply at a time of...increasing fuel and food prices. Food gardening is the most intelligent adult endeavor on earth—Lolo Houbein shows you how to do it, and why you should.”
EcoVoice (Australia)
From the Publisher

“The 30 'Magic Square' garden plots offer plenty of ideas, from a simple salad garden with a variety of lettuces, to gardens for soup, stir fry, root crops and more.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“So many gardening books feature plants' mile-long Latin names and confusing charts. Not this one. Its easy-to-follow instructions, diagrams, and photos inspire desire to grow good-for-the-body fresh produce from little yard space. A bonus: some delicious serving suggestions. One Magic Square tells you everything you need to get started and profiles each plant.”
The Virginian-Pilot

“Australian gardener Houbein has a personal and intimate understanding of food security, having survived famine during the Nazi occupation in Holland. She warns of the dangers of globalized, corporate agribusiness and 'aims to put you in control of the production of at least part of the food you need.'... The book provides basic gardening information and a wide variety of square-yard vegetable garden plans... [and is] as much a compilation of Houbein's gardening life as a straightforward step-by-step how-to manual. Like an eccentric but wise great aunt, at turns whimsically practical... Houbein offers much valuable advice.”
Publishers Weekly

One Magic Square . . . enchants on many levels. Veggie gardeners (especially rookies) will benefit from Houbein's knowledge, which is informed by science and folk wisdom, as well as the breadth of its content (growing information, 30 design plots, many recipes). This single line could sustain us for life: 'Never garden in a mood of wanting to control everything.”
The Chicago Tribune

“From plot designs to starting seeds to composting, [One Magic Square] offers beginners a manageable way to get started with organic gardening. It also gives great advice on natural ways of keeping pests away, as well as useful vegetable groupings, even recipes.”
The Post-Star

“[Lolo Houbein] asserts that anyone can grow vegetables using only a plot about the size of one square yard. She offers good directions on what to put into compost, how often to turn it to speed the process, how to go about companion planting and intercropping, and how to pinch, thin, and prune plants to keep them in check . . . [and] includes plot plans for everything from cancer prevention and antioxidant plants to basic salad and soup ingredients, with instructions for where to plant what in each plot.”
Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

“Lolo Houbein’s magic garden squares are creative, international, and a fun way to learn the magic of growing your own food.”
Tanya Denckla, author of The Gardener’s A–Z Guide to Growing Organic Food

“This timely guide will assist first-time and experienced gardeners in taking control of their own food supply at a time of...increasing fuel and food prices. Food gardening is the most intelligent adult endeavor on earth—Lolo Houbein shows you how to do it, and why you should.”
EcoVoice (Australia)
Library Journal
Houbein, who lives and gardens in Australia, introduces her magic square method of organic vegetable and herb gardening. She discusses the difficulties with current food production methods and then goes on to tell readers how to grow food at home using three-foot squares. She describes 30 plot designs including salad plots, a summer stir-fry plot, and a soup plot. She also covers preparing garden beds, composting, pests, and vegetable and herb culture, and she shares some recipes. However, while the author is clearly passionate about her subject, the book is rambling and disorganized, and Houbein just touches on the many topics covered without providing the details that beginning gardeners need. VERDICT Edward C. Smith's The Vegetable Gardener's Bible, tenth-anniversary edition, is a better choice because he offers detailed instructions for creating and caring for a garden as well as excellent how-to photographs. He also includes vegetable varieties suggested for U.S. gardeners. For those who like using garden squares, a good choice remains Mel Bartholomew's All New Square Foot Gardening.—Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL
Publishers Weekly
Australian gardener Houbein has a personal and intimate understanding of food security, having survived famine during the Nazi occupation in Holland. In this charming but meandering book, she warns of the dangers of globalized, corporate agribusiness and “aims to put you in control of the production of at least part of the food you need.” She claims that one square yard of garden will provide a 10th of a person's food needs and encourages everyone to start a “magic square” or two. The book provides basic gardening information and a wide variety of square-yard vegetable garden plans, from salad plots to curry and anticancer plots, with sections on fruit trees and chickens thrown in, but this is as much a compilation of Houbein's gardening life as a straightforward step-by-step how-to manual. Like an eccentric but wise great aunt, at turns whimsically practical (“apart from spreading shredded bracken on beds to decay, use ferns as parasols for seedlings”) and confusingly questionable (“At this point in time, vast stretches of land are being poisoned by carbon dioxide smoke from brush and forest fires”), Houbein offers much valuable advice, but the presentation is so disorganized that novice gardeners looking for a clear and simple way to get started may be flummoxed. (Mar.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781615190126
Publisher:
Experiment, The
Publication date:
03/09/2010
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
7.24(w) x 7.94(h) x 0.91(d)

Meet the Author


Lolo Houbein first learned about growing food from her Uncle Wim, whose garden saved the family from famine during World War II in Holland. In 1958, she emigrated to Australia with her husband and children. She studied literature and anthropology at the universities of Adelaide and Papua New Guinea, and has written numerous books and articles on humanitarian and conservation topics. Houbein lives and gardens in the Adelaide Hills of Australia.

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One Magic Square: The Easy, Organic Way to Grow Your Own Food on a 3-Foot Square 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Molly Jarrell More than 1 year ago
The+other+reviewer+must+not+have+read+the+whole+book%21+Very+succinct+instruction%2C+accessible+to+a+novice+gardener.+Lots+of+tips+and+tricks%2C+such+as+coplanting%2C+feeding.+Great+sections+on+various+plots%2C+individual+vegtables+and+how+to+troubleshoot+gaden+problems.+This+book+made+me+fall+in+love+with+gardening+because+it+enabled+me+to+finally+successfully+grow+things%21
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Bianca Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
i read the free sample that was offered it was a good eye opener for me it was not so much about gardening as it was about world facts about where this economy and the world is headed