The Edible Heirloom Garden

Overview

Heirloom vegetables are historic vegetable varieties that are not as widely available as more common varieties. In this beautiful volume Creasy presents her favorites. She visits Debra Friedman, a cooking interpreter at Old Sturbridge Village, to learn more about historic vegetable varieties.

Rosalind Creasy, a resident of Los Altos, California, is a landscape designer and leading authority on appropriate gardening techniques as well as a widely published garden writer and ...

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Overview

Heirloom vegetables are historic vegetable varieties that are not as widely available as more common varieties. In this beautiful volume Creasy presents her favorites. She visits Debra Friedman, a cooking interpreter at Old Sturbridge Village, to learn more about historic vegetable varieties.

Rosalind Creasy, a resident of Los Altos, California, is a landscape designer and leading authority on appropriate gardening techniques as well as a widely published garden writer and popular lecturer. Creasy specializes in residential landscapes that include edible, native, and drought-tolerant plants. She is a winner of the Garden Writers of America's award for excellence, and her articles have appeared in Organic Gardening, Family Circle, Woman's Day, Country Living Gardener, and Horticulture magazines. In addition to Cooking from the Garden, Creasy is the author of Earthly Delights: Twelve Distinctive Theme Gardens, The Gardener's Handbook of Edible Plants and a book for young gardeners, Blue Potatoes, Orange Tomatoes. Her Complete Book of Edible Landscaping received a Garden Writers Association of America's award and has become a contemporary gardening classic.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Planting an edible garden has many rewards, with some of the biggest being that you can eat what you've grown. barnesandnoble.com editor Soozan Baxter recently caught up with Rosalind Creasy, author of the award-winning Complete Book of Edible Landscaping and the Edible Garden series, to talk about her garden.

barnesandnoble.com: Is it hazardous to use a fertilizer on edible plants?

Rosalind Creasy: Any fertilizer that is available in a nursery (except for systemic pesticides like rose foods) — whether organic or not — is fine for edible plants. The vegetable plant doesn't know the difference between the organic and inorganic, by the way. It's the same difference between eating a vitamin C tablet and an orange. You notice subtle differences in your plants; they will be healthier with organic fertilizers. Fish-meal and chicken-manure fertilizers are really good to use, plus they're recycled products and are not stealing from the world's resources.

bn: Wild animals like deer and rabbits often like to munch on fresh-grown veggies as much as people do. Short of putting up a mesh wiring, is there anything else that can be done to keep animals away? Also, what kind of vegetables do deer not eat?

RC: Fences are your best bet for keeping them away. You can find beautiful wooden and electric fences. Hot pepper sprays and other products don't work. The deer will eat spicy food rather than eat nothing. As for what the animals won't eat, it's hardly anything! Deer and rabbits won't touch culinary herbs but will go after almost every vegetableandfruit.

bn: What was your biggest gardening disaster, and how did you cope?

RC: I don't have any big garden disasters. I am a heck of a good gardener. Occasionally I will put in an old seed of carrot or something, and I will get poor germination. But then I'll replant the carrot after a few weeks. There aren't disasters. But there are certainly slowdowns.

bn: What types of vegetables are good to grow in terrace gardens or window boxes?

RC: Small ones. There's a rule to remember: maximum amount of production for your space. Since the space is small, all herbs are great. Dwarf tomatoes, also known as determinate tomatoes, are bred for mechanical picking so they don't develop into great big plants. Eggplants, peppers, squashes, and zucchinis also do well. But corn and winter squashes don't do well at all. All grains — lettuces, kales, and mustards — do well in small spaces. The biggest restriction is that they don't get full sun, and that's the biggest problem.

bn: One barnesandnoble.com employee grew tomatoes in a big pot on her New York City apartment's fire escape last year. They were supposed to be big tomatoes but never got much beyond the cherry-tomato size. She was told that this was because she grew them in a pot. Is there a way to get big tomatoes from a pot?

RC: The pot is not the only problem. The seeds could have been mislabeled in the nursery. With enough soil and a big pot and a lot of organic fertilizer, she can try growing tomatoes again. Since she was able to grow tomatoes before, she will grow tomatoes again. This time, probably bigger ones.

bn: What does the evening temperature need to be in order to grow eggplants and tomatoes?

RC: Warm weather — between 55 degrees and 80 degrees — is best for these plants, particularly with tomatoes. If it's below 50 degrees, especially for larger tomatoes, the plants will not pollinate. And if it's too hot outside, the pollen tube dies because of the heat. Humid weather is also better for these plants than dry weather.

bn: What advice do you have for people who are extremely busy and have maybe ten minutes a day to spend on gardening?

RC: Herbs. Herbs, for the amount of time you put into growing them, will give you a lot of satisfaction and will taste good in your cooking. Also include two tomato plants and a zucchini. Maybe a chili pepper plant, as well. All of these will do well, particularly if it rains. If you have good soil and sun, your plants will take care of themselves.Planting an edible garden has many rewards, with some of the biggest being that you can eat what you've grown. barnesandnoble.com editor Soozan Baxter recently caught up with Rosalind Creasy, author of the award-winning Complete Book of Edible Landscaping and the Edible Garden series, to talk about her garden.

barnesandnoble.com: Is it hazardous to use a fertilizer on edible plants?

Rosalind Creasy: Any fertilizer that is available in a nursery (except for systemic pesticides like rose foods) — whether organic or not — is fine for edible plants. The vegetable plant doesn't know the difference between the organic and inorganic, by the way. It's the same difference between eating a vitamin C tablet and an orange. You notice subtle differences in your plants; they will be healthier with organic fertilizers. Fish-meal and chicken-manure fertilizers are really good to use, plus they're recycled products and are not stealing from the world's resources.

bn: Wild animals like deer and rabbits often like to munch on fresh-grown veggies as much as people do. Short of putting up a mesh wiring, is there anything else that can be done to keep animals away? Also, what kind of vegetables do deer not eat?

RC: Fences are your best bet for keeping them away. You can find beautiful wooden and electric fences. Hot pepper sprays and other products don't work. The deer will eat spicy food rather than eat nothing. As for what the animals won't eat, it's hardly anything! Deer and rabbits won't touch culinary herbs but will go after almost every vegetable and fruit.

bn: What was your biggest gardening disaster, and how did you cope?

RC: I don't have any big garden disasters. I am a heck of a good gardener. Occasionally I will put in an old seed of carrot or something, and I will get poor germination. But then I'll replant the carrot after a few weeks. There aren't disasters. But there are certainly slowdowns.

bn: What types of vegetables are good to grow in terrace gardens or window boxes?

RC: Small ones. There's a rule to remember: maximum amount of production for your space. Since the space is small, all herbs are great. Dwarf tomatoes, also known as determinate tomatoes, are bred for mechanical picking so they don't develop into great big plants. Eggplants, peppers, squashes, and zucchinis also do well. But corn and winter squashes don't do well at all. All grains — lettuces, kales, and mustards — do well in small spaces. The biggest restriction is that they don't get full sun, and that's the biggest problem.

bn: One barnesandnoble.com employee grew tomatoes in a big pot on her New York City apartment's fire escape last year. They were supposed to be big tomatoes but never got much beyond the cherry-tomato size. She was told that this was because she grew them in a pot. Is there a way to get big tomatoes from a pot?

RC: The pot is not the only problem. The seeds could have been mislabeled in the nursery. With enough soil and a big pot and a lot of organic fertilizer, she can try growing tomatoes again. Since she was able to grow tomatoes before, she will grow tomatoes again. This time, probably bigger ones.

bn: What does the evening temperature need to be in order to grow eggplants and tomatoes?

RC: Warm weather — between 55 degrees and 80 degrees — is best for these plants, particularly with tomatoes. If it's below 50 degrees, especially for larger tomatoes, the plants will not pollinate. And if it's too hot outside, the pollen tube dies because of the heat. Humid weather is also better for these plants than dry weather.

bn: What advice do you have for people who are extremely busy and have maybe ten minutes a day to spend on gardening?

RC: Herbs. Herbs, for the amount of time you put into growing them, will give you a lot of satisfaction and will taste good in your cooking. Also include two tomato plants and a zucchini. Maybe a chili pepper plant, as well. All of these will do well, particularly if it rains. If you have good soil and sun, your plants will take care of themselves.

bn: What's your favorite gardening tool?

RC: My Felco hand pruners; they work really well.

bn: What was the first plant you ever grew? What do you recommend for first-time growers who are kids and first-time growers who are adults?

RC: My father gave me my first vegetable garden when I was five. We had tomatoes and lima beans, which are good for kids. Lima beans are so big; little fingers can take care of the bean seeds. I recommend tomatoes and herbs for adults. You can't go back in the box after having fresh herbs. You won't want dried herbs and store-bought tomatoes.

bn: What is your favorite vegetable gardening tip that all gardeners should know?

RC: I have three:

Good soil.
Good soil.
Good soil.

You're wasting your time without it. Make your own soil from your own compost. If you really must, you can buy potting soil and add compost to it (but that's not really good soil).

bn: Is there a gardening reference that you use when you're really stumped?

RC:: The Burpee Complete Vegetable and Herb Gardener by Karen Davis Cutler is a good reference.

bn: What's in your garden?

RC: In one garden I have Asian vegetables: soy beans, scallions, cucumbers, peanuts, eggplants, and chilies. In another garden I have zucchinis, tomatoes, eggplants, Italian greens, Romano beans, radicchios, and fennel. In my Mexican garden I have hickima, amarant, lots of chilies, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, and lots of Mexican herbs.

bn: What do you do with all of your vegetables?

RC: We have so much in the garden — think photo studio. [Editor's note: Rosalind Creasy takes all of the photographs seen in her books.] We might need some vegetables for the background of other shots. But a lot of stuff goes to the food bank, neighbors, and friends. And people who work here take vegetables to try out in my recipes. They give me great feedback.

bn: Do you consider yourself more of a gardener or more of a cook?

RC: I spend half my day thinking about how to grow things and half my day thinking about how to cook things. I feel pretty equal about both.

bn: What do you do in the winter about eating vegetables, since you don't like the store variety?

RC: I freeze and can my vegetables. I eat more dried foods like beans. I have a lot of root vegetables like carrots, kale, and beets. I eat seasonally; you learn to do that after you've had a garden for a number of years. I am not happy with shipped vegetables. I am suspicious about the chemicals. Eating this way is healthier. If people are really into cooking, if they don't have homegrown veggies and herbs, they are really missing something. Fresh paprika makes people's eyebrows go up. The flavors are more complex and have higher nutrition. The flavors are better. You can't go back in the box after you've had fresh ingredients. It adds a great amount of quality to your cooking without a lot of effort in the kitchen. I don't spend hours making fancy pastries because I can wow people with the stuff I use from my garden.

Ellen W. Pisor
The Edible Garden Series will satisfy a wide spectrum of readers. Food lovers will applaud the series for its information and inspiration in putting fresher and tastier produce on their tables. And enthusiasts will applaud Creasy for bringing us back to the most important food source of all: our gardens.
ForeWord Magazine
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The first installment in Creasy's Cooking from the Garden new Edible Garden series spotlights horticulture's most affordable antiques--heirloom vegetables. Framed in a lively, colorful format, Creasy's down-to-earth style proves just right for her folksy subject, as she explains the importance of seed preservation in maintaining a healthy, diverse gene pool and visits heirloom display gardens from historic New England to the wilds of Idaho. An encyclopedia of venerable varieties sporting such colorful names as "Hoffer's Lazy Wife" beans and "Howling Mob" sweet corn is downright irresistible, and Creasy includes a useful, generous listing of sources for heirloom seeds and plants in the appendices. In addition to hands-on information about growing, harvesting and saving seed, Creasy also offers a robust selection of recipes for cooking and preserving the bounty, from Grandma Dorothy's Watermelon Pickles to such traditional Colonial dishes as Fried Cucumbers and Carrot Pie. This splendid overview of a gardening niche that's becoming increasingly popular is also jam-packed with Creasy's tantalizing photographs, which make a strong case for growing these heirlooms not only for their historical value and their flavor but for their beauty. FYI: Published simultaneously in the series are Italian, Flower, Herb, French and Salad.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789625932941
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/1/1999
  • Series: Edible Garden Series
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 8.59 (w) x 11.03 (h) x 0.43 (d)

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