The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping

Complete book of edible landscapingRosalind Creasy's The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping was probably a cutting-edge book when it first came out in 1982, but now I feel like the same information is presented in a better fashion in various forest gardening books and in Robert Kourik's Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally.  The most helpful two-thirds of Creasy's text consists of an encyclopedia of plants recommended for edible landscaping and, again, I feel like you'd get more information on that topic from Lee Reich's Uncommon Fruits Worthy of Attention and from Eric Toensmeier's Perennial Vegetables.

However, Creasy's book is still worth reading, particularly if you're an urban gardener who has to make your tomatoes and cabbages blend in with the neighbor's perfect lawn and clipped hedges.  Creasy lists varieties of each species that are not only productive, but that also are particularly pretty in the landscape (although some of these varieties have fallen out of favor and may now be hard to find).

And I should add the caveat that there is an updated version of Rosalind Creasy's book available, although there's no search-inside-the-book feature on Amazon, so I can't tell how much the Ha-ha moatbook was revised and now much of the information stayed the same.  I also still mined quite a few thought-provoking tidbits from The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping, despite having read many of the more-modern books on this theme.  For example, I'd heard of ha-has, but didn't realize that they were originally imagined as a hidden barrier to keep deer, cattle, and sheep in sight but out of the garden.  And I'd never considered making low-tech permeable paving similar to the way we built our ford, by sinking cinderblocks in the ground and filling them with gravel.  Finally, Creasy's book got me thinking more scientifically about summer shade and winter heat retention around our south-facing bank of windows...but that's fodder for another post.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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