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Book Review:
Cold-Climate Gardening: How to extend your Growing Season by at least 30 days
by Lewis Hill, Storey Communications, 1975 (1990 rev.) Review by David Troxell

Cold Climate Gardening book coverThe Jeavons Center (Ecology Action Headquarters) is located at around two thousand feet of elevation in the hills outside Willits, CA, about 150 miles north of San Francisco. Due to our elevation and latitude, we have a pretty short growing season, with June frosts a common occurrence and the beginning of November often bringing nighttime lows in the 20s (-7 °C). Because of this, we employ many techniques to maximize production in the time we have, and are always looking for new ideas for extending our gardening season. We found Cold-Climate Gardening to be a very useful book in this regard..

The book does include some general gardening pointers and discussions, from composting to the use of manures and mulches. But most of the content focuses on using microclimates or creating artificially controlled environments, such as greenhouses, hot beds, and cold frames, as well as more specific tips for certain types of crops, from berries to fruit trees to greens. There are ways to jumpstart your garden in the springtime, as well as extending the season later into the fall, and all are discussed.

In addition to material on cultural measures (pruning and planting methodology, for example) which can be taken to maximize yield in colder climates, Cold-Climate Gardening also lists specific varieties of fruits and vegetables which do well in areas which may experience not only colder temperatures, but decreased daylight hours in the early spring and late fall as well. In addition, tips for cultural considerations specific to northern gardeners are covered, as well as a discussion on hardy hedge materials. Even ideas for growing better lawns in colder climates get their own nod..

Overall, this is a handy book that compiles a lot of ideas on cold-climate gardening in one easy-to access and concise place. Anyone who has ever gone through the heartbreak of a late frost within a week or two of picking that first ripe heirloom tomato of the season will appreciate the advice given within these pages.

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