Tuesday Book Review: “The New Self-Sufficient Gardener” by John Seymour

Review by Allison Hamaker


I’m a long-time fan of Rodale’s gardening books, both their herbals, and their organic gardening books, but I think my favorite gardening book is John Seymour’s The New Self-sufficient Gardener. I admit, it’s because of the art. He had 11 artists use pen & ink to draw luscious illustrations throughout that guide me and show how lovely the outcome can be.

As any book written by a true garden heart would, he starts with a beautiful lecture on the ecology and structure of the soil. This is the 2008 edition, but even in his original 1978 edition he knew about the essential fungi in the soil, which just recently has been made available for purchase at the nursery called “mycorrhizal fungi.” It’s reassuring to see the depth of his knowledge.

His tips are excellent. On page 88, he gives specific measurements for fertilizer. On page 103, besides remarks about manure tea, of which most gardeners are familiar, he suggests comfrey tea, and explains the beneficial outcomes of watering with this concoction. He has specific opinions, which I admire. On page 85, he says the best compost heap is 3 bins, 5 feet square and 5 feet deep. I like the bossiness of his opinions, because I want to use them absolutely the first time, like when I try a new recipe, and then I can adjust them later to suit myself. I trust him to know what he’s talking about.

Other tips include tools. On page 109, he shows how to use a frame of chicken wire to space seeds and seedlings accurately in the bed. Mr. Seymour doesn’t stop at plants for the garden. He offers helpful information on orchards, chickens, rabbits, ducks, turkeys, how to make a garden path, how to terrace a hill, and how to build a passive solar dehydrator (page 217).

If you would enjoy a comprehensive garden book by a loving expert that doubles as a sofa-table art book, please pick this one up.

Leave a comment

Tell us what you think! (Note: We don't use your email address unless you join our email list, nor do we share or sell your information.)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Tuesday Book Reviews:

    "The One Straw Revolution" by Masanobu Fukuoka
    Our review or Amazon:

    -
    "Grow Your Own Fruit" by Carol Klein
    Our review or Amazon:

    -
    "Hobby Farms Magazine"
    Our review or Amazon:
    Order Hobby Farm Magazine
    -
    “The New Self-Sufficient Gardener” by John Seymour
    Our review or Amazon:

    -
    "Water Storage: Tanks, Cisterns, Aquifers, and Ponds for Domestic Supply, Fire, and Emergency Use" by Art Ludwig
    Our review or Amazon:

    -
    "The Woodwright's Guide: Working Wood with Wedge and Edge" by Roy Underhill
    Our review or Amazon:

    -
    "The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers" by Caleb Warnock
    Our review or Amazon:

    -
    "City Chicks" by Patricia Foreman
    Our review or Amazon:

    -
    "Making Your Small Farm Profitable" by Ron Macher
    Our review or Amazon:
%d bloggers like this: