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A few last tips from Carol Deppe

Sow bugThere's much more information in The Resilient Gardener than I touched on in this week's lunchtime series, and I especially recommend checking out her book if you want to read more about growing winter squash, dried beans, and corn as staple crops.  In the meantime, I'll end with a few fascinating tidbits that didn't fit into any other post.

Last spring, I had problems with some kind of tiny critters eating the tops off my seedlings, so I perked right up when Deppe mentioned her cure to this pesky problem.  When she pulls weeds, she leaves some of them lying along the edges of the beds in clumps to feed slugs and sowbugs, which she finds makes the critters leave her seedlings alone.  The trick is worth a try, even though weeds left in the garden often re-root in our wet weather.

Speaking of weather, Deppe recommends some good tricks for dealing with drought.  If you're unable to water, try removing every other plant in your vegetable rows so the ones left behind can spread their roots further in search of water.  And if you know a drought is coming and you won't be able to irrigate, don't fertilize beforehand since the plants' growth spurt will require more liquid to sustain itself.

The final tip has to do with long-term seed storage.  Deppe saves a lot of her own seeds, and stores some for long periods as a backup.  If you want to follow her lead and put away a stock of emergency seeds, she recommends drying the seeds at 95 degrees in a dehydrator until the seeds are dry enough to shatter when hit with a hammer (for corn and beans).  Then place the dried seeds in a jar in the freezer and they're likely to stay alive for many years.

I hope that whetted your appetite enough to give Carol Deppe's book a try!  Even though Mark and I won't be replicating a lot of her methods on our homestead, the book is definitely one of my favorites for providing realistic advice that is tried and true on the author's homestead.  Every permaculture homesteader should give The Resilient Gardener a read.


This post is part of our The Resilient Gardener lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:


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I really love Carol Deppe, and got a lot out of this book. Like you, I don't really share all of her nutrition ideas, but I really appreciated that she seemed to approach all of these things in a local/personal evidence-based way. So not saying - everyone should garden like this and eat like this, but more "Here is how I have come up with the systems that work for me, in my area". It was a new way to look at things, for me.
Comment by Cordy Fri Apr 25 19:39:27 2014
Hi Anna! I recently lost most of my belongings in a house fire and although my book shelf was cataloged by a clean up company I don't want to replace a lot of the homesteading type books that I owned because I found most weren't really that great. I'm wondering if you have a post on the books that you really enjoy or find particularly useful and constantly refer to. Thanks!
Comment by Melissa Sun Apr 27 21:59:03 2014
Melissa --- I'm so sorry to hear about your fire! My most complete favorite-homestead-books list is a free download when you go to www.wetknee.com and sign up for my email list using the form on the sidebar. I also have a post over here about the best homesteading books for beginners. I hope that helps!
Comment by anna Mon Apr 28 09:06:44 2014

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime