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The Winter Harvest Handbook

The Winter Harvest Handbook
Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses
by Eliot Coleman
Chelsea Green, 2009

If anyone could figure out how to grow lettuce in Maine in the middle of winter, it would be Elliot Coleman. America's inimitable master gardener, he has been pushing the boundaries of vegetable cultivation for decades and his Four Seasons Farm is a showcase for what can be accomplished with
Yankee ingenuity and meticulous attention to detail, not to mention some back-breaking labor.

"Attention to detail is the major secret to success in any endeavor," Coleman writes. Experience, determination and an undying enthusiam are welcome partners.

There are three steps to a successful winter harvest, according to Coleman:

1) Cold-hardy vegetables
2) Succession planting
3) Protected cultivation

Written primarily for commercial growers interested in growing for market in the winter months, this book offers a wealth of information about growing crops year-round in unheated greenhouses or beneath row covers.
This doesn't include growing tomatoes in the dead of winter, but there are more than 30 green and root vegetables like carrots, onions, celery and kohlrabi that will do fine.

Coleman provides lists of specific seeds for vegetables that grow under winter conditions in his greenhouse and offers tips on how to help them make it through to harvest. 

Coleman's methods are not simple or easy, but he does it with minimal use of fossil fuels and the tasty, nutritious results must be well worth the effort.

The Winter Harvest Handbook
The Winter Harvest Handbook

Tool modifications used to be common practice. Many have been forgotten. For example, a newly purchased scythe blade has a standard angle between blade and tang. When scythes were commonly used, everyone understood that it was up to them to bend that angle to fit their mowing style.

Another example is that store-bought tools usually come with one length of handle. Is it logical to assume the same handle length will be ideal for tool users from 5′4″ to 6′4″? Don’t struggle with a handle that is too long or too short—either cut it off or look for a longer one.

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