E-readers abound (although Kindle may be burning up the competition), and they are increasingly turning away from the paper and glue to the digital screen. The world of publishing may be in flux, but good books on all sorts of subjects are still being penned and published. Recent additions to the horticulture shelf address different, but compelling, topics for a responsible citizen to assimilate.
New Tomes on Harvesting Rain and Eating Loca
Monday, October 24, 2011
Water conservation is a subject that everyone will be hearing about, probably with increasing alarm, from now on. Climate change and population growth will dictate a new attitude toward a commodity that many have taken for granted for a long time. The pressures on current water supplies will force a new mindset, however. Harvest the Rain by Nate Downey (Sunstone Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico) is the latest tome to bring awareness to the need to conserve this valuable resource. The principles of adding organic matter to the soil to hold more water, mulching to retard evaporation, creating swales and other water diversions to slow runoff, and even digging vertical water sinks are all very good and clearly described. These useful techniques should become routine for any gardener anywhere, and especially here in Southern California, where water comes only from above and only during the rainy season, which is followed by a pretty long dry season most years. What doesn’t really compute for gardeners in this climate zone will be the many (and very well-considered) measures to harvest the rain itself. It simply is not viable to catch and retain enough water to make much of an impact for the six-or-more-month-long dry season here. No disrespect to the author, but, for SoCal, much of this book will be of no real use. Read the first chapters and pass it along to another gardener in a zone with more evenly spaced rainfall.