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The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  593 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Scientist/gardener Carol Deppe combines her passion for organic gardening with newly emerging scientific information from many fields -- resilience science, climatology, climate change, ecology, anthropology, paleontology, sustainable agriculture, nutrition, health, and medicine. In the last half of The Resilient Gardener, Deppe extends and illustrates these principles wit ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company
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Susan Albert
I have been looking for a book like this one for several years, so the publication of The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times gives me cause for rejoicing. Carol Deppe (whose earlier book, Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, should be on every gardener's must-read list) brings us practical, common-sense garden wisdom and comprehensive, detailed advice for producing our own food staples. She's funny, too, and her wry humor goes a long way toward lightening her ...more
Jennifer Kleffner
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
The first part can be a bit tedious, with all the info on diet and how to, but the work she has done on squash, corn, potatoes and beans make it worth having in your reference library. Made me want to start saving seed and breeding my own varieties.

As an aside, if I read one more gardening author who lives someplace where it rains in the summer recommend "no irrigation" gardening I'm going to scream. We don't all live where rain falls from the sky at the right time to water a garden...even a dr
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have a few small issues with this book: for one thing, I don't like to be told what to eat and don't look for diet and nutrition information in a gardening book. second, deppe herself advises against reading non-regional gardening books and then writes one herself. however, much of the information IS specific to the pacific NW, where deppe lives, and I feel like this could have been an even stronger book for those of us who also live here, had she truly focused on the region. all of that aside ...more
Norris Thomlinson
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I rate Carol Deppe's The Resilient Gardener the most important gardening book of the last few years, and simultaneously the most frustrating gardening book I've ever read. Deppe, also the author of Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, draws on more than three decades of experience in the Willamette Valley of Oregon to present a treasure trove of tips and tricks for Pacific Northwest (PNW) vegetable gardening. After touching on many common vegetables and devoting some space to orchards, berries, a ...more
Jan 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that Northwest Gardeners will need to add to their library. It's quite unique in tone and content. Carol Deppe's gardening philosophy is the result of her long experience as a gardener and seed saver and her own problems with food, specifically celiac's disease, an intolerance to wheat gluten. Gardening ( her case more like farming due to the size of her "garden"), for resilience she has learned to focus on five crops that will provide food throughout the year: potatoes, corn, bea ...more
Danielle McClellan
This book will be of great interest, particularly to other Northwest gardeners. Deppe is specific and knowledgable. Some of her concerns do not intersect with my own (the details of her diet, for example), but those topics that do intersect (raising ducks, growing potatoes & squash) are extremely helpful. It is like having a mentor who takes the time to provide the details of each piece of advice and who explains exactly what she does and how she does it. She is thoughtful, methodical, and clear ...more
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've been meaning to read this book for two or three years, but I kept getting turned off every time I opened it. I'm ashamed to say part of that is just because I'm so used to full-color non-fiction books that having a big book with no photos (except in the middle) made it feel daunting. But I also wasn't as interested as I could have been because the book is about a homegrown diet of field corn, dried beans, squash, and duck eggs, and only the last seems like a really healthy staple given my c ...more
Apr 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very useful for how the author considers resilience in many different ways and at many different levels. Valuable information on growing and storing staple crops and saving seed from year to year. She is opinionated in the ways most garden writers are, and carries that over a bit too far into the One Right Way to select and cook foods. This makes it harder to differentiate between valid, data-derived information and her own tastes and preferences.

Many of her methods and practices are tough to sc
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Book 58 2012 Reading Challenge - Amazingly comprehensive book covering food production and Self-reliance in uncertain times. Revolves around five main crops--potatoes, corn, beans, squash, and eggs. And for this author the eggs are duck eggs and not chicken eggs. Consequently some excellent advice for duck keepers- most books cover chickens. I learned a lot about the nutritional value of potatoes, and also she has a chapter on how to use gardening as exercise to stay fit. The book is also valuab ...more
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food, plants
I'm clearly going to have to return this to interlibrary loan before I can give it 100% of the attention it deserves, and "deserves" is the correct word. A SUPER interesting and practical read, much more about small-scale farming and food storage than gardening per se. Did you know there are garbanzo beans out there you can pop like popcorn? And that you can establish your own seed store, viable for far longer than you'd expect, with the help of a freezer and a standard dehydrator? This book is ...more
Aleksandar Janković
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you need to know about growing corn, beans, potatoes or squash on a home scale - this is the book for you. It has a specific Northwest US perspective, but she puts down enough caveats so that you can work out if that particular variety or technique applies to your region.

The book is very dense, not many tables, charts or photos. But she's able to get her message across clearly and concisely.

Also, great practical cooking methods :)
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author waffles on a bit, so it's a difficult book to pick up quickly off the shelf to reference, but hidden in there is plenty of very useful information so it's well worth reading for anyone interested in homestead survivalism and a resilient diet. It's not just about growing food, but storing it and cooking with it, and all kinds of resilience. I like that she has detailed information here about how to save disease-free seed potatoes, how to use garden tools without damaging the back, gard ...more
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Deppe focuses on 5 crops that — with care in choosing, sowing, growing, harvesting, and processing/cooking — should see home gardeners through hard times: potatoes, corn, beans (green and dry), squash and pumpkins, and ducks/eggs. Before she gets into the discussion of each of these, she talks at some length and in some personal terms about resiliency, climate change and weather, diet, tools, soil, and water.
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best gardening books I have ever read. I have lost track of how many times I checked this out from the library. Practical advice, theory, and a surprisingly good section about food preservation that really expanded my dehydrator usage!
One of the greatest and most relevant gardening books that I've read in a long while! Deppe talks you through the logic of having a resilient garden - one that is better able to handle the vagaries of local weather in the midst of climate change, and one that will be an asset in a crisis large or small instead of a drain on your time, energy and resources.

She focuses on adapting gardening practices away from the good-times highs (high outside input, high labor, high water needs) and instead pla
Oct 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star-books
Hugely useful guide to growing your own food; especially useful to me because Deppe lives and farms in the Willamette Valley. She is also completely charming; for instance, she includes a sidebar with the song she sings while putting her ducks to bed, because ducks like singing. SERIOUSLY. I love her.

It's a very holistic treatment of growing your own food. The main things she covers are potatoes, corn, beans, squash and eggs (she prefers duck eggs), although she does mention growing greens and s
Jack Stephens
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
I took my time reading this book while making notes in the margins and highlighting key bits of advice and snippets of clever wisdom. I will be using it as a reference in my garden library for a long time to come. Carol Deppe does not write theory. Her insights have been hard earned from years of experience, and her thoroughness and attention to detail is admirable. I'm looking forward to applying her advice in my garden.

The bulk of The Resilient Gardener is useful for growers in any region or c
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-again
Although this book is aimed specifically at the Pacific Northwest, and we live in upstate NY, I find much of what Carol says translates well now matter where you live. The book has a different spin than the many other garden books I have read. It focuses on sustainability, on a personal level. How can you sustain yourself and your family, through good times and bad? How can you garden in such a way that health, finances or weather issues can be worked around. And what are the basic crops (and an ...more
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: farming
This book is about strategically growing high calorie crops to provide food for year-round eating. She directs a chapter in the book to each of the following crops: corn, squash, beans, potatoes, and eggs. These crops are the easiest to grow, harvest and combine for a balanced diet. She also eats other foods but I like how she directs the reader to focus on the most important crops. I learned a lot about corn and it's many varieties. I saw how she fit her efforts into the natural patterns of her ...more
Fascinating book. Wish I could give half stars. I take away a half star for focusing the book and her advice almost solely on the Pacific Northwest. For a book of the size and price of thus one, I'd expect some charts, graphs, and advice which would expand the areas where the book could be used. Many gardening books do this. I also thought an editor should have tidied up the length of the book. I liked the personal stories about her mother, gluten-free diets, and duck raising, but felt there was ...more
Jan 15, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked the premise of the book; our gardens should not only be able to sustain us during difficult times, but should be able to take their own share of hardships (a broken-footed gardener, for instance) and still produce food we can live off of.

The information presented about gardening for more or less survival (not a doomsaying survival, but the getting by everyday type of survival) included fairly in depth treatises on husbanding potatoes, corn, squash, beans and eggs (duck and chicken).
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very readable and down-to-earth (haha) reference guide for backyard food growers. The author is not only highly-educated (PhD from Harvard), but she walks the talk in practical and accessible ways, bearing in mind that many people have numerous responsibilities on their plates besides food growing. I'll be using this as an ongoing resource. My only wish is that the author would take a break from Oregon to experience and write about Minnesota's special growing challenges. Not a big deal though, s ...more
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Deppe gives us a blueprint for gardening to become self-sufficient in difficult times. She focuses on potatoes, corn, squash, beans, and eggs, and provides scholarly information on best varieties. She emphasizes why she chooses certain varieties, and why each of us in our own climactic region should investigate the same. This book is so dense with information I'm going to have to return my library copy and buy my own. It's one I know I'll be referring to again and again in the future.
Andrew Fanning
Oct 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Solid principles, and a good read overall. One of the few gardening books that I've seen address the issue of "what if..." What if I don't have time? What if I can't provide water or electricity? Admittedly, the author's focus of plant choice is limited to her region (Pacific Northwest), but she provides enough thoughts that shaped her choices that anyone could replicate her process in other parts of the country. Great info on storing and using the produce as well.
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Clear instructions of how to grow and preserve staple crops such as beans, corn, squash, potatoes and eggs. Deppe spends almost as much time explaining how to keep and cook what is grown as she does explaining how to grow it. She lives in Corvallis, so Oregon readers have an advantage here. Overall, a great book which I will probably purchase.
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grow-some-fooood
Purchased this for my Pa on his birthday last fall. Haven't read it all but what I have read - I've really liked. I used to live in the same town as the author (Corvallis) so there's a special appeal about what she's writing. I will have to make some adaptations for my new home, however (Minneapolis, MN - which is in a verrrry different growing zone...).
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great way for both beginning and experienced gardeners to learn how just a few staples can feed a community in a variety of ways. She focuses on the Native American 3 sisters (corn, squash and beans) and adds potatoes and eggs. Everything one would want to know about those 5 items and plenty of other helpful information.
Carnegie-Stout Public Library
"Her educational background fits well with her practical gardening experience, and when combined with her ability to write, the result is a comprehensive and useful book."

Read the rest of Michelle's review on the library's blog:
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very folksy and readable. One woman's accumulated gardening knowledge, shared. I enjoyed it, and picked up some interesting information on corn varieties, and potato varieties. I also learned that I need to hand pollinate first thing in the morning. Good to know. I recommend this as a pleasant winter read, when you're looking forward to spring.
May 17, 2012 rated it liked it
This book has a huge amount of information in it. I especially liked the section on raising ducks as most books talk more about raising chickens. However, much of the information was not helpful to me because I don't live in the Pacific Northwest.
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