The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times by Carol Deppe is one of the best gardening “how-to” books that I have ever read. Along with Steve Soloman’s Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, Deppe’s book is a must-read for any gardener in the Pacific Northwest.
But while Soloman’s book is only of passing interest to those gardening outside of this bio-region, Deppe’s work has much to recommend it to a wider audience. She combines philosophical insight with the taste of a gourmet chef and a dash of prepper paranoia for good measure. Deppe has her Ph.D. in biology from Harvard and she knows her plants.
The book focuses what she believes are the three plants (plus eggs) that will get us through hard times (whether they be from a job loss or a societal collapse). For each of the three (potatoes, beans, and corn) she gives detailed instructions and general principles about all aspects of growing, storing, consuming and propagating. Deppe includes recipes that take into account the intrinsic qualities of the produce and bring out the best flavors. She has totally revolutionized my relationship with duck eggs and I am excited to try more of her ideas out in the kitchen.
The most interesting sections of The Resilient Gardener come in the form of Deppe’s meditations on diet, climate change, gardener-plant relations and personal anecdotes. She has much to offer the casual gardener on a general level and her writing is engaging, if at times a bit acid and strongly opinionated.
I strongly recommend this book to all gardeners, whether novice or expert. If your at all interested in personal resilience, economic decentralization, or anarchism this book is also well worth your time.
Deppe has a personal website where she sells seed specifically adapted to our bio-region, blogs and curates Taoist parables, you should check it out at www.caroldeppe.com. I am looking forward to her next book coming out this fall titled The Tao of Gardening.