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Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  1,338 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Shows how to grow and harvest up to forty different vegetables in season all year round.
Paperback, Second Edition, 234 pages
Published November 3rd 2005 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company (first published January 1st 1990)
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All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel BartholomewLasagna Gardening by Patricia LanzaWestern Garden Book by Kathleen Norris BrenzelCarrots Love Tomatoes by Louise RiotteFour-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
Gardening Books
5th out of 273 books — 91 voters
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverPest Control for Organic Gardening by Amber RichardsFood Rules by Michael PollanFour-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
Best Books on Growing Food
5th out of 41 books — 48 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,819)
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You know how every once in a while a book comes along and rocks your world? Well, that's this book for me. (You might already have guessed that when you consider that this is the first review I've added in the last year or so.) E. Coleman tells the reader how to harvest from the garden *all year long*. Where? Florida, Californa, Georgia, etc etc? Nope, in zone 5! That's me! No, tomatoes will not grow in February here, but, for example, a person can grow cold-hardy mache (a European green aka cor ...more
Mo Tipton
Aug 19, 2008 Mo Tipton rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: green thumbs
This book is friggin' great. Coleman outlines the basics of the four-season harvest method; namely, composting, the outdoor garden, the covered garden, and the underground garden (or root cellar). His explanations are clear and detailed, and the wonderful illustrations provide a great working model for readers interested in tackling some of the construction projects Coleman describes.

What I particularly loved about this book is Coleman's dedication to simplicity. Through careful planning, he ha
A very practical (and entertaining!) book with lots of useful information and time-saving steps for those of us northern folk who want fresh garden produce all year long. The author is from Maine and grows salad greens in a simple and inexpensive cold frame all winter long. The book is especially helpful about choosing hardy winter seed varieties from both local and european traditions.
Just because I have a history of failing miserably in the garden doesn't mean I'm giving up. Ohhhh no. 2012 will be the year I don't totally suck at keeping plants alive! (This book was great, by the way. If a person is going to go to the trouble of becoming a gardener, it seems silly to only use those skills for a few months out of the year. This guy gives practical, common-sense advice backed by years of experience and experimentation. If he can have fresh salad greens in the dead of winter in ...more
Mar 17, 2007 Tom rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of fresh veggies in the winter months
Eliot Coleman has mastered the art of season extension in the bitter cold regions of northern New England. The book breaks down several techniques for growing vegetables under cover to enjoy throughout the winter. There's also a great section with a complete description of each vegetable along with several facts for growing with rotations, cover crops, and soil amendments. Great book for any home gardener.
You really can grow foods all year round no matter where you live. This book guides you in determining which vegetables grow best in your local climate, and when to plant and harvest them. It is comprehensive and very well organized--a great help in developing and managing a simple and balanced garden. I like this guys style--simple, organized, well thought-out, and earth-friendly.
Makes me want to learn to use a scythe.

Fabulous for
+ colder climes (he's in zone 5) -- structures, strategies, and species (top 5 down to zone 3: spinach, scallions, mache, claytonia, and carrots)
+ Chapter 7 (about ducks)
+ conversational *and* citational

Good for
* soil building; tilth protecting; no-till gardening
* graphics (harvest calendars, rotation tables, pictures of pests, instructions for hardware)

Not good for
- edible perennials
- small-scale (sub)urban growing; if you don't have a site
Eliot Coleman and his family have been studying and practicing the ancient art of the four-season harvest over many years - refining their designs, equipment, and techniques for their extensive garden plot in Maine. They have a lot of experience and are eager to share what they've learned with other enthusiastic gardeners who are interested in harvesting fresh produce year round. (Just take a look at the bowl full of salad greens they collected from their greenhouse and cold frames in January, a ...more
Lise Petrauskas
I like this book, but it's one of those where you have to actually start working on a project to get the most out of it. I find that I'm not as likely to follow someone else's specific instructions for gardening than I am to take general knowledge and adapt it to my garden and my habits. I'd like to think that I'm going to have this wonderful green house and do row covers and cold frames and grow food all winter — heck, I live in the PNW, the perfect climate for it— but in some ways I think that ...more
Carl Wade
Pg xv: Scott and Helen Nearing are mentioned.
Pg 6: Corn, Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumbers, or eggplants need the heat of summer. Others can be grown in cooler times.
Pg 17: When smelly compost is a problem, it needs more "brown" additives like straw. How about coffee grounds?
Pg 29: What adds minerals to compost piles?
Pg 33: Walking the yard and look for miniclimates. Find where snow melts first in the spring. The King along the Rhine did this when he brought grape culture.
Pg 45: Before leaving the ga
Astrid Yrigollen
This book is a more in depth book on growing your own vegetables even through winter. If you are interested in cold storage or what types of beds to use, what to grow in winter, this book is for you. Coleman has a lot of information in this book,some black and white illustrations and some color photos of hoop houses and frames.You will have to purchase some additional items that you may not need in warmer climates, but none of it is break the bank costly and depends entirely on you and what you ...more
This book is an excellent resource for both the summer gardener and the year-round gardener. Coleman accompanies easy-to-read instructions and detailed illustrations with the heartfelt and comical experiences of his own gardening efforts.

I especially enjoyed the historical research into old-fashioned and forgotten vegetables, the use of cold frames, root cellars and other old-world low-tech solutions. Most of his suggestions can be followed with a minimum of expense at first, and then replace o
Joshua Schenck
Genius. He and his family farm in Maine are also featured on gardening shows and documentaries. He only heats his potable greenhouses two days of the year in Maine and produces in 1 acre what most farms produce in 6 acres. Props.
Evan Denno
Reading this book made me do a "Why didn't I think of that before?" forehead smack. I live in Maine, like the author, and have always missed fresh vegetables over the long winter. By spring, directions to "plant in March" on cold season seed packets seem like cruel taunts as I look out snow that won't disappear until mid-April. Coleman's techniques for extending his vegetable harvest beyond the growing season do require some commitment from the gardener, but are presented at a realistic level fo ...more
Eliot Coleman is a national treasure. Simple, no-nonsense guide to raising food year-round (even in Maine!) using cold frames and polytunnels combined with cold-hardy vegetables. I would put Coleman's philosophy halfway between Jeavons and Solomon, with respect to intensity, fancy transplating/timing, etc. Very practical construction guides for all of this. Plus you get the story of his trip to France (scouting out vegetable varieties) woven into it. Shortly after reading this, I gave a copy to ...more
Loved this book. Inspired me to start my garden. FINALLY.
Good information for growing a garden year round.
I'm so excited to have found this priceless resource!! This book is incredible. Essentially, he argues that we can be harvesting/gardening year round, even in our zone (he is in Maine). Practical guidance on starting and maintaining a winter garden from an obviously experienced and respected gardener. I'm learning about vegetables and techniques I never knew. A combo of tools, equipment, technique, and lists of cold-loving plants make this book an essential reference. So excited to start my firs ...more
I got really excited when first reading this book, about the prospects of greenhouse growing in Michigan during the winter. That is until someone reminded me how cloudy MI is during the I did some research, and sure enough, the part of Maine the author lives in has more sunny days than the US average in winter, whereas Michigan is among the cloudiest of all areas, with sunny days far below the national average. It's still a good book, but I think the author should've made as much a p ...more
Great basic info for giving courage to start out with a 4-season outlook to gardening. Now to explore the various vagetables that would be available in the late Summer, early Fall-Besides salad greens. I WILL try to get the salad veges going, but then I wonder how the family will take to the different greens, besides the head Lettuce we have all become accustomed to.
Wish me luck! There was also some other books on gardening listed in the back of this one, may need to walk the garden Isle in my l
Bend your mind around this: instead of extending the growing season, extend the harvest season. Doesn't sound like much, but it's the difference between putting extra expense and energy into heating a place to grow foods out of season -- and just protecting what you've planted in late summer and early fall so that you can harvest it all winter. Genius! It's a little late in the year for me to start trying this, but I'm going to have to find a copy for myself and plan for next year.
Mary Mac
Skip the first 8 chapters if you know anything at all about gardening. Like "this is a hoe", "this is compost", "worms are good". It is mostly about his trip to France which makes it more interesting from a travel perspective than a gardening reference. There is a great appendix in the back on how to grow SEVERAL crops in the winter and which varieties etc. He is in zone 5 which is the same as ours so it makes it really easy to translate but other zones could still benefit.
Calamity Jane
probably my top favorite gardening book. although i have never followed the double covering method he describes, most of my gardening in alaska is relevant anyway, same cold season crops and simplest season extending methods. i love his approach of simple, basic technology to solve problems just enough, and change your eating habits to cover the gap. i also love vicariously his ridiculously thorough and meticulous nature.
If you are interested at all in self-sufficiency, organic gardening, and such this is an amazing book. I am in the process of building some cold-frames to grow some cold-hardy greens this winter as described in this book. This book is also a handy reference for how to plant and grow just about any vegetable. I refer to it many times throughout the year and was also what prompted me to get our first ducks.
James B
"Turning a one-season into a four-season garden invokes those those marvelous human beings we all have been fortunate to know in our lives who, even in old age, keep themselves spiritually young. It is obvious why they are such refreshing company; they never stop participating, learning, producing, and contributing. That is exactly the spirit represented by the four-season garden." PG. 12
Plant Girl
This book is quite inspiring. There are so many great ideas for extending the harvest into the fall and winter, and also starting earlier in the season. The planting tables by zone are quite useful. Coleman really seems to know what he is doing and his tone is intelligent yet not overbearing or snobbish. This is a great resource for anyone wanting to get more out of their garden!
Great book, although many of the techniques and practices are quite wide spread in Europe.

Also, keep in mind the book is titled 4-season HARVEST. Somehow I realized that about 100 pages in. It's not about growing new plants in the winter, it's mainly about stretching the harvesting season beyond October (in some cases - up to March!).
I'm a novice gardener--all about growing vegetables--and was intrigued by the ideas here to grow food throughout the year. The author is in coastal Maine (I think), also zone 5, like us in upstate NY, and had great suggestions based on travel through Europe--particularly France--for how to harvest vegetables even in the winter.
Stephanie Jewett
I was hoping to find out how to grow something other than lettuce all year long, but I guess that's just not gonna happen at my latitude. That's not the book's fault, though. I did learn about something called "corn salad", of which I had never heard, but now own a packet of the seeds, so I hope it tastes good.
Loaded with information and ideas on having a home garden that produces year round. I breezed through it, especially noting the chapter on making cold frames. I will definitely pick up again when I have the space/time to devote to getting a year-round garden started!
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